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Home Wellness Articles Bonding & Holding Carrying and Direct Body Contact are Essential for an Infant’s Development

Carrying and Direct Body Contact are Essential for an Infant’s Development

Written by Pathways Magazine   
Tuesday, 01 March 2005 00:00

It is generally known (back to medieval or ancient times) that deprivation of sensory stimuli like voice and vision in the early phases of human life will cause irreversible mental retardation in the child. Also the prevention of child play will cause intellectual deficits in the adult. Eyes, ears and the nose are not the only human sensory systems affected by deprivation.

Additionally there are the two body sensor systems, the “somatosensors.”One is the vestibular sensor for maintaining orientation and upright walk. The other one is the skin, for sensing touch.

Through the work of James W. Prescott, Ph.D., and various others until the mid 1970’s, it was established that these previously neglected senses are of overwhelming importance for the development of social abilities for adult life. Their deprivation in childhood is a potential major cause for adult violence.


About the Author:

James W. Prescott, Ph.D., was a health scientist administrator at the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD), one of the Institutes of the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) from 1966 to 1980. He created and directed the Developmental Behavioral Biology Program at the NICHD where he initiated NICHD supported research programs that documented how the failure of “Mother Love” in infant monkeys adversely affected the biological development of their brains. These astonishing abnormal brain changes underlie the behaviors of depression, impulse dyscontrol and violence that result from mother-infant separations.


Pathways Issue 5 CoverThis article appeared in Pathways to Family Wellness magazine, Issue #05.

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