Understanding brain tuning in babies
October 31, 2013 | James Kohl
Baby brains are tuned to the specific actions of others
October 30th, 2013 in Neuroscience
Excerpt: “The neural system of babies directly connects them to other people, which jump-starts imitation and social-emotional connectedness and bonding. Babies look at you and see themselves.”
My comment: Human babies, like all infant mammals, smell you and innately recognize self vs non-self differences that directly effect hormones that organize the brain and activate it via olfactory/pheromonal input that affects behavior associated with visual, auditory, and tactile input. Brain tuning is a function of odors.
The idea that babies look at you and see themselves may be the most ridiculous misrepresentation of cause and effect ever touted in the context of cognitive neuroscience. It has led to other ridiculous misrepresentations of cause and effect such as the snake-centric theory of human evolution that has taken the scientifically illiterate media by storm during the past few days.
Panksepp said it best: “…the social brain has many levels. If you don’t understand the foundational level, then you can do brain imaging until you’re blue in the face, but you still will not understand the process at a deep causal level.”
See also the award-winning publications in Neuroendocrinology Letters from more than a decade ago:
Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology (2001) Kohl et al
Comparative approaches in evolutionary psychology: molecular neuroscience meets the mind (2002) Panksepp et al