All About Attachment

The emotional bond that typically forms between infant and caregiver, usually a parent, is the means by which the helpless infant gets his primary needs met. It then becomes the engine of subsequent social, emotional, and cognitive development. The early  experience of the infant stimulates growth of the brain and shapes emerging mental processes. It establishes in the infant's brain the neural pathways that will sculpt what are likely to be lifelong patterns of response to many things. The attachment experience affects personality development and the ability to form stable relationships throughout life. Neuroscientists believe that attachment is such a primal need that there are networks of neurons in the brain dedicated to setting it in motion, and the process of forming lasting bonds is powered in part by the hormone oxytocin. The genius of the attachment system is that it provides the infant's first coping system, the one that is a foundation for all the others; it sets up in the infant's mind a mental representation of the caregiver, one that is wholly portable and can be summoned up as a comforting mental presence in difficult moments. Attachment contains within it the platform for the child's ability to ultimately separate from the caregiver and to survive independently.

Recent Posts on Attachment

Are You Dating Your Mom or Dad?

By Jean Kim M.D. on February 12, 2016 Culture Shrink
People often don't realize how strongly the relationship to their first love, their parent, affects their future romantic relationships.

Why You Should Cuddle Your Kids: Adult Health and Morality

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on February 07, 2016 Moral Landscapes
Did you receive affection, play freely and feel supported in childhood?

These Crimes Are Not for Sensitive Ears

By Katherine Ramsland Ph.D. on February 07, 2016 Shadow Boxing
New book in a series about Canadian crimes revives interest in psychopathic child killer from 1950s.

What is Your Partner’s Relationship Attachment Style?

In romantic relationship, most couples have degrees of four attachment styles. What are yours and your partner's?

Once an Addict, Always an Addict

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on February 05, 2016 Minority Report
Do you agree with the phrase, "Once an addict, always an addict"? Why or why not? This view of addiction may seem pessimistic in terms of recovery & clarification is needed here.

4 (More) Solid Tips for Getting Your Relationship Unstuck

By Marty Babits on February 03, 2016 The Middle Ground
Can Jan and Evan's jealousy problem be solved through improved communication?

Why So Many Women Don’t Have Orgasms

By Michael Castleman M.A. on February 01, 2016 All About Sex
Women don’t have orgasms largely because their lovers don’t provide the clitoral caresses that elicit them.

The Sexual Ethics of Star Wars

Why must erotic love compromise a person's ability to use the Force for good?

How Wives Contest The Australian Open Men’s Tennis Final

Their investigation found married players suffered a significant decrease in ranking points between the year before getting married, and the year after...

The Everyday Clinician's Guide to Sex Addiction

By Sam Louie MA, LMHC on January 29, 2016 Minority Report
If you're a therapist with no formal training in sex addiction, then this guide is tailored for you. The information provided is hands-on, practical tools you can use with clients

Are Love and Romance Possible in a Narcissistic Culture?

As our culture and community gets more narcissistic the ability to engage in loving, giving, and other focused intimate relationships become more challenging to secure and sustain.

7 Signs You’re in an Unhealthy Rebound Relationship

Research indicates that while some rebound relationships can be successful, others may be harmful. Here are seven signs you’re in an unhealthy rebound relationship...

How to Date an Introvert

If you’re in a relationship with an introvert, you may wonder whether your relationship will suffer from your partner’s preferences for quiet contemplation. Here’s the good news

UK Government Uses Psychology To Destroy Medical Profession

It might be better to endure a brief strike and negotiate reasonable terms, than to create a split between employees by delaying agreements and hardening the fault line.

Psychology, Monetization, and Video Gaming

By Mark D. Griffiths Ph.D. on January 07, 2016 In Excess
Some people appear to become ‘addicted’ to buying virtual assets for gaming. Why do they buy?

What Sexting Really Reveals About You

By Martin Graff Ph.D. on January 06, 2016 Love, Digitally
Those who send sexually explicit messages may display avoidant or anxious attachment styles.

To Stay in Love… Do This

By Stan Tatkin Psy.D. on January 03, 2016 The Puzzle of Love
You need to know how to make each other feel secure if you want your love to last.

Inter-generational Games Night

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on January 02, 2016 Moral Landscapes
Just imagine playing board games, cards, and hanging out with seniors, neighbors, children, preteens, teens, and other adults. This scene is something that can happen anywhere in A

Something Radiant and Unknown

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on December 31, 2015 Bear in Mind
Sanctuary cannot erase an Elephant's traumatic past, but it can reignite the spark within.

Why You Should Kiss More

By Tamar Chansky Ph.D. on December 30, 2015 Worry Wise
There's nowhere to hide in a kiss, and hiding is not so good for marriages. So, a way of not hiding that is free, fast, and doesn't require a babysitter? That's a good thing.

Behind the Bars, No World

By G.A. Bradshaw PhD, PhD on December 27, 2015 Bear in Mind
Wildlife captivity has negative effects on human observers and captive animals, as revealed in this interview about Billy, the Elephant who is kept in isolation at the L.A. Zoo.

Seven Dos and Don'ts for the Perfect New Year's Eve Kiss

Kissing is the most difficult sex act. Make the ritualized New Year's Eve kiss a symbol of your commitment. Here's seven dos and don'ts to make it perfect:

Should Robots Be Our Grandma's New Friend?

By Teresa Ghilarducci Ph.D. on December 24, 2015 When I’m 64
What will loneliness in old age look like? VanGogh "At Eternity's Gate"

The Troubling Habit That's Poisoning Relationships

Are you prioritizing your phone over your relationship partner? Research suggests it's not a good habit in your romantic relationship.

The Politics of Loneliness

The verdict is in: Loneliness is on the rise in America today. We all suffer from it. The Right speaks to it through jingoism and scapegoating. Progressives need to address it too

Why Does “Caveman” Parenting Influence Adult Morality?

By Darcia Narvaez Ph.D. on December 22, 2015 Moral Landscapes
Babies develop dynamically in response to the care they receive, which influences later moral sensibilities too.

Let's Celebrate Trying

By Marty Babits on December 22, 2015 The Middle Ground
Results Count, Trying Brings Them Home

Which Toys Do Children Anthropomorphize?

Young children tend to anthropomorphize, or attribute human qualities, to toys to which they are both emotionally attached and toys that possess personifying characteristics.

Conflict and Peace: Lessons from Childhood

Children squabble, but adults do battle. Can we learn anything about conflict and peace from childhood?

Here's Why Your Dog Might Not Be As Cute As You Think

By Hal Herzog Ph.D. on December 21, 2015 Animals and Us
What is more important in determining how strongly people are attached to their dogs -- cuteness or canine personality?