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When a loving mother holds the newborn baby in her arms for the first time, she intuitively knows to care for the child. A relationship is formed, a bond created. The child will emerge in abilities, babbling, creating imaginary scenarios, the capacity to collaborate, feel pain, understand emotions, discuss differing positions, argue convictions, until the child grows up and can meet the mother in an adult relationship of empathy, intimacy, and perspective-taking.
The mother-infant dance will shape the child's affiliative bonds throughout life.
The neurobiology of affiliation is the new scientific field that describes the neural, endocrine, and behavioral systems sustaining our capacity to love. There are three factors in the neurobiology of bonding:
Oxytocin - a large molecule produced by neurons in the hypothalamus - is known for coordinating bonding, sociality, and group living. Oxytocin targets mainly the amygdala, a center for fear and vigilance, the hippocampus, and the striatum, a locus of motivation and reward.
Oxytocin is released through the central part of the neuron as well as its extensions, called dendrites. The dendrites increase oxytocin release whenever attachment memories are used and prime us for a lifetime. Early attachment memories help us move without fear. It imprints the infant's brain with distinct social patterns.
Oxytocin pair bonds, group sharing, and consoling behavior, and is also very sensitive to danger. It protects against threats based on the nuances of social behavior. Oxytocin activates the alarm systems of the fight-or-flight response.
The same oxytocin that supports love and kindness, also underlies prejudice, parochialism, and out-group derogation.
It is the brain structures that enable mothers to care for their offspring.
The neural network is not enough to transmit the knowledge, linguistic competencies, social cognition, executive functions, and mental abstractions we obtained. Humans have additional higher-order systems that enable planning, resonance, and the ability to communicate and share effect.
It is a process and it describes the coordinated action in the service of the group’s survival and resilience. Social cohesion makes ants so resilient. By coordinating behavior, the strength of the group is far greater than its individual members.
Human love can react automatically to the smallest sign of danger and cause endless cycles of aggression and destruction. There are three types of solutions based on the work of great thinkers. Each saw fear and cruelty under pressure and the destruction brought by war.
SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:
We tend to sync ourselves with others without even realizing it. People wave or clap at the same time in concerts, rocking in sync. A study showed that if two people are in a rocking chair, they will automatically start rocking it in sync with each other.
This silent conversation of movement results in a special bonding and closeness towards each other. This results in people liking each other, being generous and cooperative towards each other, reducing racial or economical bias. This behaviour is even seen in small children.
Early humans devised ways to be and stay together using the same techniques, albeit unconsciously.
Voices and body movements synced together during traditional folk dances in various cultures helped people bond together.
A child's pre-teen and teen years are a high-emotion transitory period. This is due to shifting classmates, social pressure, multiple classrooms and a period of many 'firsts'.
A study on sixth-graders revealed that friendship is crucial and real for kids, and can be as deep as a parental relationship.
Most parents and teachers do not understand the importance of deep bonding among friends at school and tend to regard friendships as a distraction or a nuisance.
Social isolation is the dark side of the school, in which many kids with no friends are at risk of anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. There is a perceived sense of threat with being friendless, and the young, immature mind can deeply internalize the resulting difficulties, leading to depression.
Bullying at this age is also a major problem, with those who are socially isolated becoming the most vulnerable to being bullied.
Patriotism is an inborn human sentiment and part of a subconscious drive toward group bonding and allegiance. According to some recent studies, patriotism is in our genes.
The groups we identify with provide a sense of identity and belonging. Once we have identified our place in the group, we are motivated to enhance the status of this group. Patriotism is a form of identity.
Scientists explain that the instincts that drive patriotism can express humanity’s best and worst sides.
In an experiment, subjects consistently discriminated against those in other groups and acted in ways that benefited their own groups.
The feeling that the benefits of the group are beneficial to the individual is innate.
One common characteristic of a group is that emotions appear to be contagious. A shared emotional experience occurs when one person feels a similar emotion to another due to perceiving the other's state. Conversely, xenophobia can be attributed to a dissimilarity in perception that creates an empathy gap.