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Moving Beyond Self-InterestPerspectives from Evolutionary Biology, Neuroscience, and the Social Sciences$
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Stephanie L. Brown, R. Michael Brown, and Louis A. Penner

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780195388107

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195388107.001.0001

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Parental and Romantic Attachment Systems

Parental and Romantic Attachment Systems

Neural Circuits, Genes, and Experiential Contributions to Interpersonal Engagement

8 Parental and Romantic Attachment Systems
Moving Beyond Self-Interest

James E. Swain

Oxford University Press

Intense interpersonal relationships are critical aspects of human life. Important examples are parental and romantic love. Each include a set of highly conserved behaviors and mental states that reflect genetic endowment and the early experience of being cared for as a child, as well as current factors. This essay selectively reviews the brain circuits and hormones that underpin these states, beginning from animal work and proceeding to hormone and brain imaging work on humans. Under hormonal and environmental influence, key limbic-hypothalamic-midbrain structures, in concert with partly overlapping integration and regulatory cortical brain areas shape human responses to psychosocial stimuli for adaptive behaviors in parental and romantic love situations. These same circuits may also dictate risk and resiliency to various forms of human psychopathology, including anxiety, depression and addiction.

Keywords:   Parental Love, Romantic Love, Neuroscience, Oxytocin, Neuroimaging

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