The Primate Mother-Infant Bond

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The mother-infant bond is the familiarity and attachment a mother forms with her offspring. These helpless babies are reliant on their mother’s nurture for survival. This dependence reaches farther than a physiological need. Infants rely on their mothers for a wide variety of demands. The mother-infant bond is critical to maximizing the fitness of each individual, as well as the growth of the species. In 1976 Marshall H. Klaus and John H. Kennell came out with a book called “Parent Infant Bonding”. It discussed their hypothesis that like other animals, there is a brief moment directly following the birth of a child where skin-to-skin contact between mother and offspring creates a strong bond. Although this theory continues to be supported by many, some criticized the process of Klaus and Kennell’s studies. Some of these criticisms likely came from their definition of a “critical” time period after birth. According to Klaus and Kennell, there are specific events, including skin-to-skin contact between mother and infant that must occur directly following the birth of a primate infant. This maximizes the chances of survival for the newborn not only because their mother is a source of food, but also because they will learn the culture they need to be successful in their environment. In the study, Klaus and Kennell test how much time a baby spends crying when they are separated from their mother. They concluded the increased time in babies that were separated was due to the anxiety that separation caused. The difficulty in this is that the cause of the baby’s distress is subjective. Also the notion of critical period proposed that the bonds and lessons taught during that time could not be developed later. Abraham Maslow ori... ... middle of paper ... ...ionships." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. University of Cambridge, 6 Nov. 2006. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. 9- "Allomothering in Primates." Allomothering in Primates. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Mar. 2014 10- Harms, William. "Professor Finds That Nonhuman Primates Have Evolutionary Reason to Bond with Their Offspring." Professor Finds That Nonhuman Primates Have Evolutionary Reason to Bond with Their Offspring. The University of Chicago Chronicle, 12 July 2001. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. 11- Broad, K.D, J.P Curley, and E.B Keverne. "Mother–infant Bonding and the Evolution of Mammalian Social Relationships." Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. Royal Society, 2014. Web. 24 Mar. 2014. 12- "Primate Social Relationships: Adults and Infants." Primate Social Relationships: Adults and Infants. N.p., Web. 29 Mar. 2014.

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