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Ancestral Landscapes in Human EvolutionCulture, Childrearing and Social Wellbeing$
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Darcia Narvaez, Kristin Valentino, Agustin Fuentes, James J. McKenna, and Peter Gray

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199964253

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199964253.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 30 July 2021

As Time Goes By, a Touch Is More Than Just a Touch

As Time Goes By, a Touch Is More Than Just a Touch

(p.38) Commentary As Time Goes By, a Touch Is More Than Just a Touch
Ancestral Landscapes in Human Evolution

Eric E. Nelson

Oxford University Press

Chapter 2 reviewed results from a series of elegant studies in which tactile contact from the mother was found to alter the developmental course of both behavioral and physiological maturation of infant rats. Furthermore, the results demonstrate that maternal touch induces change in the epigenetic structure that alters the facility with which inherited genes can be transcribed. These studies are particularly remarkable because they link environmental experience during a specific developmental period to molecular alterations in the brain that have profound functional significance. This work is noteworthy for several reasons, and this commentary highlights three: the clear role of sensitive periods during development; the potential importance of somatosensory maturation for psychological health; and the profound and often nuanced way in which inheritance is regulated by experience across development.

Keywords:   sensitive periods, somatosensory, development, maternal, environment

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