From: Wade Smith (email@example.com)
Date: Wed 13 Nov 2002 - 14:00:48 GMT
Pioneers of the field
By Ellen Barry, 11/12/2002
Over the course of the last century, we began to look at babies in a new
way. Through the 1950s, scientists described them as bundles of raw
appetite, unable to see faces or experience the world around them. The
culture followed: Babies were kept from their mothers in maternity wards
and parents were admonished not to pick them up when they cried. But
several scientists have gradually drawn a picture of newborn humans who
can be affected profoundly by their earliest experiences.
ANNA FREUD - The founder of child psychoanalysis, she altered her
father's notions of powerful internal drives such as the ''Oedipus
complex'' to describe the unique world of the infant. She described the
child's strong attachment to the breast and the powerful desire for
nourishment that bound mother and child.
JOHN BOWLBY - Trained by London psychoanalysts, Bowlby split from them
in the 1940s, when he concluded that children bond with their mother as
forcefully and emotionally as baby animals do - and that the real
relationship was more important than the internal forces espoused by the
Freudians, such as libido and aggressiveness. His work was the
foundation of ''attachment theory.''
HARRY HARLOW - In experiments both moving and horrific, Harlow, a
primate researcher, examined the enormous developmental changes that
result from styles of mothering. In the late 1950s, after separating
infant rhesus macaques at birth, he replaced the real mothers with a
range of surrogates - some warm, some abusive - and showed that
depending on the responsiveness of the mother, the babies turned into
adventurous, social creatures, or trembling, alienated outsiders.
MARY AINSWORTH - Her team extended some of Harlow's principles to human
babies. In the 1970s, she invented an experiment called the ''strange
situation,'' in which a mother and baby are separated from each other in
an unfamiliar environment. When the mother returns, the babies' response
varies widely, from joy to distrust. She found that responsive mothers
tended to raise children who were ''securely attached,'' affectionate
and venturesome - whereas ''insecurely attached'' babies raised by
rejecting mothers grew up dependent and poor at problem-solving.
MARTIN TEICHER - In the last decade, contemporary scientists such as
Martin Teicher have examined the effects of early experience - but from
the perspective of brain science, not behavior. Using brain imaging
techniques, he has shown that abused children develop irreversible
changes in brain chemistry and structure.
This story ran on page C4 of the Boston Globe on 11/12/2002.
© Copyright 2002 Globe Newspaper Company.
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