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Ancestral Landscapes in Human Evolution – Culture, Childrearing and Social Wellbeing - Oxford Scholarship Online
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Ancestral Landscapes in Human Evolution: Culture, Childrearing and Social Wellbeing

Darcia Narvaez, Kristin Valentino, Agustin Fuentes, James J. McKenna, and Peter Gray


The social contexts in which children develop have transformed over recent decades, but also over millennia. Modern parenting practices have diverged greatly from ancestral practices, which included natural childbirth, extensive and on-demand breastfeeding, constant touch, responsiveness to the needs of the child, free play in nature with multiple-aged playmates, and multiple adult caregivers. Only recently have scientists begun to document the outcomes for the presence or absence of such parenting practices, but early results indicate that psychological wellbeing is impacted by these factors. ... More

Keywords: parenting practices, childbirth, breastfeeding, free play, mammalian development, wellbeing, ancestral contexts, human development

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780199964253
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014 DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964253.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Darcia Narvaez, editor
Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame

Kristin Valentino, editor
Department of Psychology, University of Notre Dame

Agustin Fuentes, editor
Department of Anthropology, University of Notre Dame

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Section I Baselines for Human Mammalian Development

1 Children’s Development in Light of Evolution and Culture

Darcia Narvaez, Peter Gray, James J. McKenna, Agustin Fuentes, and Kristin Valentino

3 Nonhuman Primate Models of Mental Health

Amanda M. Dettmer, Stephen J. Suomi, and Katie Hinde

Section II Evolution’s Baseline: Hunter-Gatherer Contexts

4 Relationships and Resource Uncertainty

Gilda Morelli, Paula Ivey Henry, and Steffen Foerster

5 Batek Childrearing and Morality

Karen L. Endicott, and Kirk M. Endicott

6 Cosleeping Beyond Infancy

Barry S. Hewlett, and Jennifer W. Roulette

Section III Contexts for the Evolution of Families and Children

9 Incentives in the Family I

Joan Roughgarden, and Zhiyuan Song

Section IV Contexts Gone Awry

11 Child Maltreatment and Early Mother–Child Interactions

Kristin Valentino, Michelle Comas, and Amy K. Nuttall

Commentary Ancestral Attachment

Alyssa N. Crittenden

Section V Child Flourishing

14 Childhood Environments and Flourishing

Tracy R. Gleason, and Darcia Narvaez

15 Postscript

James J. McKenna

End Matter