How do you use neuro-science in small, safe experiments?

Neuroscience of Attachment

It’s tricky because neuroscience is complicated. I am no neuroscientist myself but I do need to know something about it.

Just to illustrate my point, and with apologies to a great practitioner-researcher,  Allan Schore, please consider what the statement,  below. What might it say when you are thinking about your own small safe experiments!!?

“Reciprocal right-lateralized visual-facial, auditory-prosodic,

and tactile–gestural non-verbal communications

lie at the psycho-biological core of the emotional

attachment bond between the infant and primary caregiver.

These affective communications can in turn be interactively

regulated by the primary caregiver, thereby expanding the

infant’s developing right brain regulatory systems.”

in Early interpersonal neuro-biological assessment of attachment and autistic spectrum disorders. Frontiers in Psychology, 5, 1049. Schore, A. N. (2014)

Let’s see what can be translated from this account. I think I am good at ‘translating’ and the website is devoted to this task. Even so, please keep in mind that simplifying anything presents its own problems. It can offend some people but I am not one of them.

I’m OK about getting things wrong because I am trying things out, and changing things. After all, you have only to write to me about a factual matter, as does happen, and I can alter it very quickly should that be necessary. We’ll work on the basis that we can learn as much, if not more, from mistakes as they crop up.

I think you can do well from the same attitude. This website is ‘telling’ you things. You can absorb some of it and, doubtless, you will ignore most of it, and still be a fine person.

Schore, here, is referring, for the most part,  to the workings of the Lateral Vagus Nerve; a key communicating channel for all human beings.

He is noticing that the different sides of our brain – called the left and right hemispheres – do different things when it comes to the human growth and development of infants.

He is adding that a caretaker, often a mother, has an intimate relationship with their child. Her tiniest actions, intended and unintended, can have a large impact on the child’s evolving understanding of the world. You’ll see a stark reminder of this point in the YouTube extract on this page. In particular, it is these early influences that will shape the way a child will manage the emotional landscape in which they will walk.

More importantly, he is inferring, not saying, that the caretaker’s influence is so profound it can still influence our thoughts and feelings throughout our lives.   What he is not inferring is that the influence is there for life, and unchanging; that was the view of early researchers into child development.

It is not the current view; Pamela Levin’s view offers an interesting, and practical, alternative view.

So, have I kept you with me? You may wish to ask what can be done if I was dealt a dodgy hand when my emotional intelligence was evolving?

The somatic therapies have a lot to say that helps here.


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What is a nudge?

Using nudges on other people?

Designing a safe experiment

The autonomic nervous system

Do-able things