Essential Overview Part Three - Deep In The Brain

Author: 
James W. Prescott

This brief presentation documents an historic procedure performed on an adult, sensory-deprived monkey, raised in isolation. The procedure involved removing a thin layer of abnormal cells that formed deep in the cerebellum, one of the most ancient brain centers, cells that were malformed as a result of sensory deprivation (mother-infant separation). The abnormal and often violent behaviors caused by this malformed area ended with the removal of this thin layer of cells.

Essential Overview Part One - What Is Sensory Deprivation

Author: 
James W. Prescott

This twelve-minute presentation is an excellent introduction to sensory deprivation and its impact on the early developing brain.

How Culture Shapes The Human Brain

The power of Touch the Future’s Academy is its ability to create relationship. A dramatic illustration of this synergy is in the relationships between four interviews:

(New) Joseph Chilton Pearce on The Death of Religion and Rebirth of Spirit

(New) Darcia Narvaez, PhD on Neurobiology in the Development of Human Morality

(Now indexed w/tanscripts) James W. Prescott, PhD on Sensory Deprivation and Brain Development and

(Now indexed w/transcripts) Jean Liedloff of the Continuum Concept on her experiences with stone age tribes in the Amazon.

This constellation began with our discussion with Darcia Narvaez exploring her and neuro-scientist Allan Schore’s new book on the relationship of neuro science and morality, something James W. Prescott has been describing for years. What is morality? Our capacity to be kind to others. Indeed, this capacity is innate; however, like all capacities it must be developed and this cycles back to nurturing or its absence in early childhood with what we call nurturing directly impacting how the brain forms structurally and functionally.

Themes: 
culture
morality
sensory deprivation
brain development

The links between biology and morale philosophy and theology

The links between biology and morale philosophy and theology
James W. Prescott

We can go back to the Old Testament and we can see prescriptions for physical pain as discipline for building strong moral character. Proverbs 23:13-14 “Withhold not correction for the child, beat him with a rod and he shall not die.  Beat him with a rod and you shall save his soul from hell”.  Anyone who was brought up in the Western Judeo Christian religious tradition knows that pain, suffering, deprivation are morale virtues and a path to salvation. And the opposite is also true, that body pleasure, and predictably sexual pleasure is evil, immoral, sinful, and will lead to damnation.

Another dimension to this problem that has been a major concern to me is the relationship of these neuro-biological and neuro-psychological events and the moral value systems of our culture and society. What I think I have provided in my theory is a bridge between the basic sciences of developmental neural biology and neural psychology with morale philosophy and morale theology.  And I don’t know of anyone else who’s been able to accomplish this.  But I think I’ve been able to do that and that bridge happens to be the sensory modalities or systems of pain and pleasure, and morale philosophy and morale theology has a lot to say about pain and pleasure. 

We can go back to the Old Testament and we can see prescriptions for physical pain as discipline for building strong morale character.  We have Proverbs 23:13-14 “Withhold not correction for the child, beat him with a rod and he shall not die.  Beat him with a rod and you shall save his soul from hell”.  Anyone who was brought up in the Western Judeo Christian religious tradition knows that history, that pain, suffering, deprivation or morale virtues is a path to salvation.  And the opposite is also true, that body pleasure, and predictably sexual pleasure is evil, immoral, sinful, and will lead to damnation.  So here we have, in the cultures of Western civilization, in fact it’s any human culture that holds to that kind of belief system, that kind of dualism between “body and soul” in which the body is held as evil, source of wickedness and the soul, disembodied soul, the spirit is good, leads to inevitable war against the body because the body is a source of sin and evil and wickedness.  That means body pleasure. 

It’s extraordinary what I call pathological metaphysical dualism that has split us in two.  The ancient Greek Philosophers are responsible for this gift to us which in fact are the seeds of our own violence and destruction.  It carries with it also an animosity toward women because women has been equated essentially with the principle of the body or matter and the male with spirit or goodness or God like.  That came from Pathogens.  So, he set it up by definition so that women have always been unequal to men, have always been inferior, and morally so. 

In Ecclesiastic 25, 24 “From women came the beginning of sin and through her we all die”.  And we know this throughout literature, not just the biblical literature but also all of our other literature.  Woman is the source of sin and wickedness, and particularly sexual sin.  So this has alienated man from woman and her body and her sexuality and her sensuality.  And that of course deprives us of the real union between male and female. 

Trying to explain the ultimate significance of gender and equality and the sexuality and why men have created what we call the patriarchal-theistic cultures.  They’re designed to control the sexual body of women.  But the question is why is that?  The reason in my view is that sexual affectional pleasure and bonding that really occurs between a man and woman neutralizes power in that relationship.  And so the issue in all of this is power.  Men do not want to give up their power in society, in particularly power over women and her body and her children.  And so that means you have to control and deny and repress sexual affection and pleasure because in the cross cultural studies it became so very clear that the cultures that permit premarital sex and even extramarital sex are non-violent cultures. 

There are Egalitarian cultures, women are equal to men.  You don’t find slavery being practiced.  You don’t find bride prices being present.  So what we have at issue here then is essentially the equality of women with men, and men do not want that.  That is the patriarchal theistic men who want to maintain their power and control.

Sensory deprivation of touch and body movement

Sensory deprivation of touch and body movement
James W. Prescott

We are socialized through touch, either through pleasure or through pain.  So the pleasure system which comes with light touch and grooming, massage, however we want to describe it, is damaged. Something else happens. The sensory system that mediates pain is also damaged so there is a heightened threshold to painful stimuli. There’s impaired pain perception. The animals who engage in self-mutilation without any apparent feeling of pain. We see this translated at a human level where there’s an increased tolerance for painful stimuli.

When we look at the other consequences of this kind of sensory deprivation of touch and body movement that we see in the animals and in humans, the human primate, is an aversion to touch.  There is a hypersensitivity and hyper-reactivity to touch so that a very light touch stimulus will be sufficient, provoke an extreme violent response. 

            In the animals they cannot engage in this kind of light touch and behavior or what is called grooming behavior, where animals spend a lot of their time just touching each other and back into the fur for lice or whatever, but they’re just touching each other, grooming.  It’s a dominant social activity in these animals.  That behavior is destroyed and it’s a major socialization in these primates as well as the human. 

We are socialized through touch, either through pleasure or through pain.  So the pleasure system which comes with light touch and grooming, massage, however we want to describe it, is damaged. 

Now, something else happens. The sensory system that mediates pain is also damaged so that they’re discovered in the experimental animals, is that there is a heightened threshold to painful stimuli.  There’s impaired pain perception.  So the animals who engage in self-mutilation without any apparent feeling of pain.  We see this translated at a human level where there’s an increased tolerance for painful stimuli.  Here we have all the ingredients necessary for accounting for why the affectionally deprived individual grows up to be so, not only a-social, but antisocial, because the two major socialization systems, pain and pleasure, have been rendered dysfunctional. 

I’ve seen this documented in studies by pediatricians and developmental psychologists who relayed to me how children who are abused and neglected, or children who have been subjected to this kind of sensory deprivation for medical reasons like pediatric immobilization, plaster casts, broken limbs, and they have to be immobilized, that these children would come back to their attention years later as being hyper active and hyper reactive.  The parents in trying to control them will spank them but they would report they don’t seem to feel it.  In fact, that was a point I made to one of them when they were talking about these children and I said, they really had not mentioned to me the impaired pain perception and I said I would predict that these children also don’t experience pain normally.  And they said how would you know that?  And he says in fact the parents tell us that they spanked them and it doesn’t seem to have any affect, and then I described to them the experimental animal studies which they were not familiar with.  So that has major implications for understanding the juvenile delinquency and the gang phenomena, the explosive violence, the need for sensory stimulation. 

You see this is the other thing, this is a chronic stimulant seeking behavior that underlies these behaviors because there’s need for body contact, for body stimulation, and a deprived animal organism will get it one way or the other.  They’ll either touch for pleasure or they’ll touch for pain, but they’ve got to be touched. There’s got to be body contact. 

Applying findings to large populations

Applying findings to large populations
James W. Prescott

80% of cultures could be accurately predicted or classified in terms of their peaceful or violent behavior from this one single measure of whether the infant was carried on the body of its mother all day long. I could predict the remaining 20% has to do with whether the cultures permit or punish adolescent sexuality. Cultures that are very repressive towards sexual expression, what I call sexual affectional bonding, are violent cultures and the cultures that permit adolescent sexual expression are non-violent cultures.

And so the question, I said what’s the best strategy to really document this on a really broad scale.  One can look at clinical studies, developmental studies, but they are always highly select samples, it’s not generalized too far with them, and they’re very costly.  So I thought that a better approach would be to look at a large human population’s cultures, going back to the primitive cultures, the pre-industrial cultures, that certainly one would think that there were cultures that varied on this one specific variable of how they rear their children. 

Fortunately a member of our National Advisory Council, at that time was Professor John Whiting, who’s a Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Harvard University who published extensively on child rearing practices and later behavior.  I remember asking John, was there a systematic database on this and he said well as a matter of fact there is and if it exists you’ll find it in Arby Texture’s volume of “Cross Culture Summary”, which had just come out and published in 1967, which is a massive statistical summary of the statistical correlations in our relationships among a large number of variables that had been developed and quantified by Culture Anthropologists on 400 cultures.  This was the sample and Texture’s cross cultural summary. 

Fortunately there was information on child rearing practices, specifically related to whether infants were carried on the mother of the body all day long and those that did not.  Those ratings were done by Culture Anthropologists, Dr. Barry Bacon and Chown.  And fortunately there was also information on violence.  Those were the two that I wanted to link up with.  And Dr. Phillip Slater had developed codes on violence and warfare.  So, when I combined those two measures I selected every culture in that 400 culture sample in which those two bits of information were available.  That yielded 49 cultures. 

And low and behold what I found was that 73% of the cultures could be accurately predicted or classified in terms of their peaceful or violent behavior from this one single measure of whether the infant was carried on the body of its mother all day long.  That measure was increased in predictability when I published that in 1975 and the futurist, Body Pleasure and Origins of Violence.  It was reprinted in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and a number of other places.  And then I was informed by three different Cultural Anthropologists that there were errors in the original quoting. 

But every time a correction was made it increased the predictability so that I could now predict with 80% accuracy the violent or peaceful nature of these cultures from that one variable of maternal infant physical affection. The bonding that occurs with this body contact.  Then the second half of the story where I could predict the remaining 20% has to do with whether the cultures permit or punish adolescent sexuality. And basically the cultures that are very repressive towards sexual expression, what I call sexual affectional bonding, are very violent cultures and the cultures that permit adolescent sexual expression are non-violent cultures.

So that when you combine the two of issues, the two variables of affectional bonding, the maternal infant relationship, then adolescent sexual relationship, I can accurately predict with 100% accuracy the peaceful or violent nature of these 49 primitive cultures distributed throughout the world.  Now there’s no other theory or database that exists that match that and I can specify the sensory systems about it involved, the brain mechanisms involved, and that’s why these cross cultural studies are so successful, those were built on solid experimental scientific evidence.

Critical factors: touch and movement

Critical factors: touch and movement
James W. Prescott

The brain studies I initiated documented both, that in fact the brains of the adult pathological isolation reared monkeys were indeed abnormal.  They had deep electrical voltage discharges in the limbic system and the cerebellum.  And it’s these high voltage discharges, electrical storms which we call spiking, which we know is associated with explosive outbursts of violence in human patients.

When I first saw the film study of Dr. Will Mason and Gersh Berkson on the swinging mother surrogate it opened up a whole new door because it was very clear that there’s a sensory involved that nobody had talked about or addressed, including Dr. Mason and Dr. Gersh Berkson.  They talked the significance of dynamic social interaction between mother and infant.  They came out of a background not of developmental neural biology and neural psychology but of social behavior.  And so they described their effects in social terms.  See this is very important, whether you define, exceptionalize a phenomena in social psychological terms or in terms of neural biological and neural psychological terms.  To me it meant another sensory system which was the vestibular cerebella system. 

It was very clear that that was the sensory system that was responsible, obviously by their own experiments, for the effects that they were getting.  Then it became obviously clear that all the stereotypical rocking behavior came from the sensory deprivation of movement.  They were trying to get the sensory stimulation denied early in life. The challenge to me then was to document this on human populations.  So when I discovered through Dr. Mason and Gersh Berkson study that the vestibular cerebella system played a major role in the regulation of these emotional social behaviors, two questions occurred. 

The first was that clearly the vestibular cerebella system must have intimate linkages with the limbic system of the brain which is at the major brain structures that mediate and regulate our emotional behaviors, peaceful behaviors, violent behaviors, sexual behaviors, the maternal behaviors and so forth.  But at that time in the scientific literature there’s very little information or support of any kind of major connection between the cerebellum and limbic system’s structures of the brain. 

So I had started out a program of research to one document that this kind of isolation rearing is sensory deprivation, or what I called somata sensory effectual deprivation or sad, does result in abnormal development of the brain structurally and functionally.  And that was what was responsible for the abnormal behaviors. 

And then secondly, the second neural biological questioning was that there’s an intimate relationship and structural relationship between the cerebellum and limbic system which really had not been previously suggested, let alone established in the scientific literature.  So the brain studies I initiated documented both, that in fact the brains of the adult pathological isolation reared monkeys were indeed abnormal.  They had deep electrical voltage discharges in the limbic system and the cerebellum.  And it’s these high voltage discharges, electrical storms which we call spiking, which we know is associated with explosive outbursts of violence in human patients. So that linkage was established. And these studies were carried out by Dr. Robert Heath and Dr. W. Salzberg at the Tulane University Medical School, Department of psychitraity and nurology.

Film: At the Tulane University Medical School, in New Orleans, studies of brain impairment are conducted on monkeys raised in isolation.  Dr. Robert Heath has implanted electrodes which cause no pain in the brains of these monkeys. Normal brain waves show up on a graph as consistent patterns. While abnormalities produce wide functions, high voltage electoral discharges called spiking by scientists. Dr. Heath found such abnormalities in brain wave graphs of human Schizophrenics. When the brain waves of some of Dr. Harlow’s older mother deprived monkeys were measured they also indicated visible spiking in both the cerebellum and septum.

I remember my conversation with Dr. Bob Heath and he knew or understood that he would expect to find some abnormalities in the limbic system, but the cerebellum, he thought I was whistling Dixie on it.  But he went ahead and conducted those studies because this was done as a part of a contract, a service that I had established with Dr. Salzberg and Dr. Heath but the United States needed to explore these problems.  And low and behold they found neural pathology of abnormal, electro-physiological activity in these two brain structural systems.  This really turned Dr. Heath’s lab around where he started then mapping out extensive connections between the cerebellum and the limbic system, and then also of course the frontal cortex and pre-frontal areas, which is also intimately linked with the regulation of emotional behavior and affect and higher consciousness and so forth. 

So, I proposed this neural functional system of linkage between the cerebellum, the limbic system, and the frontal cortex and the frontal cortex and the pre-frontal cortex areas.  And then there were other studies that documented the structural damage to these brain areas, the somato-sensory cortex and the cerebellum in isolation reared animals.  But then having established that neural biological foundation, it became imperative to demonstrate that indeed these same relationships exist in human populations.

Pathological consequences of mother-infant separation

Pathological consequences of mother-infant separation
James W. Prescott

John Bowlby noted that the isolation raised monkeys had abnormalities similar to children in orphanages. As the animals grew older they were sexually dysfunctional and they were pathologically violent. What remained was the enigma of understanding these pathological emotional behaviors and social behaviors of these isolation reared monkeys.

Experimental studies involving infant separation of monkeys from their mothers was started by Dr. Harry Harlow, a Behavioral Primatologist Psychologist at the University of Wisconsin and Director of the Regional Primate Center there.  He was attempting to develop a breeding colony for experimental research with these animals.  So he, for whatever reason, decided that it was a good idea to separate the infants from the mothers and rear them in cages by themselves.  It wasn’t until some time later that he noticed that these animals were engaged in a very emotionally, socially, abnormal, bizarre behaviors. 

Film: Psychologist Harry Harlow at the University of Wisconsin has long studied the importance of the early experience of infant monkeys. Whether the cloth dummies or wire dummies contained milk, the monkeys preferred the cloth covered mother substitutes at all times. The isolated monkeys would spend as much as 15 hours a day clinging to their cloth mothers. And this attachment persisted after a separation as long as two years. When the clot mother was removed the monkeys showed signs of extreme disturbance. But they were calmed and comforted when the mother was returned. The wire substitute even when it held a bottle, excited no affection in the monkeys. The apparent apathy of this animal and it rocking behavior became an important focus for later study. Dr. Harlow is still investigating the depression that follows the separation of young monkeys from it mother. Dr. Harlow says his work began as a mishap. He was raising single monkeys in separate cages when John Bowlby suggested that he was really raising a collection of abnormal monkeys.

In fact it was John Bowlby, the English Psychiatrist, who made major contributions on the effects of maternal deprivation, emotional deprivation methods of children, infants being separated from their mothers, who informed him that you were raising abnormal animals like we see in children in orphanages and so forth.  And as the animals grew older they were sexually dysfunctional and they were pathologically violent.  They engaged in self-mutilation and essentially homicidal assaults against younger animals and even older animals, juvenile animals who were isolation reared, engaged in behavior that no normal juvenile monkey would do, like attacking a big huge alpha male.  I mean no juvenile monkey in their right mind does this.  But these would.  So there’s no, the normal constraints on a normal aggression was gone. 

Well when I joined the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, I was brought on board to create the developmental behavioral biology program, to look at brain behavioral studies, the effects of early experiences on brain development behavior, and to examine what were the most crucial issues for child healthy human development.  And one of the issues was child abuse and neglect, the effects of eternal social deprivation, which had occupied developmental psychologists for a long time. And what remained was the enigma of understanding these pathological emotional behaviors and social behaviors of these isolation reared monkeys. 

And what caught my attention was the denial of Dr. Harlow, that these separation experiences involved sensory deprivation.  Rene Spitz, a Psycho Analyst, made the same statement about his studies on infants who were institutionalized or hospitalized, where they received no touching, reared in cribs, no physical contact but physical care and medical care was more than adequate.  And many of these infants would develop depression, a found withdrawal, and some even died.  But even Rene Spitz denied that this involved sensory deprivation.  And so these two individuals in my view historically mislead the entire field for almost a generation.

And as a Developmental Neural Psychologist I said this is craziness.  This is impossible.  The only way an infant communicates with its environment, mother and everyone else, and anything else in the environment, is through our sensory systems.  So it has to involve our sensory systems.  So the question is which sensory systems are the most important? 

Probably the most significant of the primate isolation rearing studies next to the Harlow’s original contributions was that conducted by William Mason and Gersh Berkson who were, Dr. Mason was also at Harlow’s Laboratory in which he reared isolation reared infant monkeys on a swinging mother surrogate and another group who reared on a stationary mother surrogate.  Low and behold what happens is that this infant monkey that was sitting on this swinging mother surrogate did not develop any of the emotional social psycho pathologies.  There was not the depression, the withdrawal behavior, the autistic life behaviors, the rocking behaviors, self-stimulation behaviors, nor the pathological violence when they grew up as juveniles and adults.  They had no tactile aversion which the infant monkeys who were reared on the stationary surrogate had developed. 

Film: This swinging substitute mother a bleach bottle covered with flurry cloth was invented for an experiment by Doctors William Mason and Gersh Berkson at the delta primate center in Louisiana. The isolated monkey has known no other mother than this moving surrogate which rises and falls and sways in a random way. This isolated monkey has an identical surrogate mother, but the mother does not move. At ten months of age the monkey raised on the moving surrogate substitute is given a chance to make close physical contact with a human being. His behavior seems normal. He appears to be curious, bold, and friendly. The monkey raised on the stationary mother behaves in quite a different way. He seems timid, cringing and apparently unhappy. He appears emotionally disturbed and unresponsive to changes in the environment. Rocking and other abnormal behavior were prevented in the monkey with the swinging surrogate. The monkey on the stationary surrogate displays the familiar stereotype rocking movements.

So what this study indicated was another sensory system, was of crucial importance, in fact more important than just touch and that’s the sensory system that mediates motion, movement, and that’s the vestibular cerebella system.  And when you look back on it and you look at what happens in-utero, the dominant sensory system is one of motion, of movement.  Of all the six sensory systems, the one that’s continually being stimulated is the movement, with the mother moving around all day long.  Vision, hearing, smell, touch, taste are essentially non-functional, not entirely but essentially non-functional.  So the continuity, the psychological continuity of this motion which the fetus is continually developing in contact with its mother, the most important sensory modality is movement.  In many cultures and ours this movement stimulation ends and this has to be sensory deprivation.  That’s shock. And clearly it seemed to me that this was a major ingredient to understanding the depression, the alienation and the violence in human populations.

Trauma of sensory deprivation of physical pleasure

Trauma of sensory deprivation of physical pleasure
James W. Prescott

If we have pleasurable sensory stimulation then that’s the brain engrams, the templates that will be stored and they will be images of pleasure.  If they are painful they’re going to be images of pain and pain evokes violent responses.  But there is something else that evokes violent responses and that’s the absence of pleasure.  And that’s really different then the sensory experience of pain, and most people don’t really yet appreciate that distinction.  And in fact, more damage occurs with the sensory deprivation of pleasure than the actual experiencing of physical painful trauma.

If we have pleasurable sensory stimulation then that’s the brain engrams, the templates that will be stored and they will be images of pleasure.  If they are painful they’re going to be images of pain and pain evokes violent responses.  But there is something else that evokes violent responses and that’s the absence of pleasure.  And that’s really different then the sensory experience of pain, and most people don’t really yet appreciate that distinction.  And in fact, more damage occurs with the sensory deprivation of pleasure than the actual experiencing of physical painful trauma, which in fact could be handled quite well in individuals who were brought up with a great deal of physical affectional bonding and pleasure which carries with it emotional trust and security and so forth.  So we really have to look at the trauma of sensory deprivation of physical pleasure and that translates into the separation experiences, the isolation experiences of the infant from the mother.  That’s the beginning. 

            Film: Some of these children at LourHas Institution in Munich suffered brain damage. Some are mentally retarded. All have suffered the effect of disrupted material-infant relationship. The effect of early separation from their mothers upon children was noted in scientific publications some 25 years ago when psychologist Rene Spitz observed a high frequency of retarded development upon institutionalized children. The English psychiatrist John Bowlby created controversy in 1944 with his conclusion that early separation leads to a character disorder marked by a lack of affection or feelings for anyone. These depressed children might be found in institutions around the world. They are withdrawn. Their pace of development has slowed. They are listless, vacant, and unnaturally passive. They have few emotional contacts or relationships with others, little spontaneity. No laughter. No tears.

What constitutes sensory deprivation?  Because if you live in a culture in which the cultural norm is you don’t get touched very much, people don’t perceive that as deprivation.  It’s like the converse issue of circumcision or genital mutilation.  That is so common place in our culture that most people don’t look at that as genital mutilation or as torture as mutilation.  It’s the norm.  So that’s a very important question. 

So we have to go outside our own culture to get a different frame of reference, a different bearing, a different standard of what’s normal.  And not only outside of our own culture but also outside of our own species, and we are primates.  If you take a look at how other primates mirror their infants, or even mammals with respect to mothers and their newborns, what do we see?  We see an enormous amount of physical body contact.  There’s no mammal that separates the newborn from its mother at birth, or any extended period after that except the human mammal.  Yet we do that routinely and isolate them.  That’s sensory deprivation.

Let’s go over the primates.  What I’d like to do is look at any program involving primates in the wild and where do you see the infants?  They’re attached to the body of their mother and they hang on for dear life as the mothers move around all the time.  Continuous body contact and that should tell us a lesson.  Because that’s become the standard and the norm of what brings up we’re responsible for healthy infants.

And we in fact have demonstrated that experimentally in the laboratory by taking the infants away from their mother’s, rear them in cages by themselves, where they can’t touch or have body contact with other animals, not the mother or any other animals.  Even in the colony where they can have social relationships with the other animals by vision and hearing and smell but no body contact.  No touch. 

Film: A the Hazelton Laboratories in Falls Church Virginia, these normal monkeys are being studied and filmed by Dr. James. W. Prescott, of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Active, curious and alert, these healthy monkeys have been raised by their mothers. When they are put together in a cage they react to each other with interest. They are at ease with each other. They play and touch each other freely. When Dr. Prescott separates the monkeys they resist, holding each other tightly. They maintain body contact and cling to each other even through the wire mesh cages. Monkeys raised in isolation react quite differently. These monkeys were removed from their mothers at birth. They were hand fed in incubators. They are raised in cages through which they could see, hear and smell other monkeys but could not touch or be touched by them. When they are put together there is not play between them. They seem indifferent to touch. Or they react as though touch is unpleasant and move away from each other. When they are held the isolation reared monkeys show signs of great stress, screeching and bearing their teeth. The stereotype movements of rocking backwards and forwards over and over again is typical of animals deprived of normal mothering. It is as though the animals attempt to give themselves the touch and motion they were denied in infancy. Similar behavior can be seen in maternally deprive children, rocking and other stereotype movements are common symptoms observed in institutionalized children all over the world. Some children who engage in stereotype movements endlessly repeated show evidence of brain damage. Stereotypical movements are observed in retarded children as well. All these children have been deprive of normal mothering for one reason or another and display the same emotional and social impairments and stereotype movements as animals raised in isolation.

NICHD: REINVENTING THE WHEEL

James W. Prescott, Ph.D.

THOSE WHO CANNOT REMEMBER THE PAST ARE CONDEMNED TO REPEAT IT

George Santayana The Life of Reason (1905) 

The Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD)

ON 30 MARCH 2015, the NICHD provided a public press release that described an intervention to teach mothers of preterm infants how to interact with their babies more effectively, which resulted in better weight gain and growth for the infants, a study funded in part by the National Institutes of Health.

Maternal interaction improves growth, weight gain in preemies

Themes: 
sensory deprivation
culture

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