attachment

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Romance

romance-connected-babyFalling in love — the arena of poets and songwriters.

And also, it turns out, the arena of scientists!

Research on attachment is increasingly making clear that experiences during our early childhoods leaves lasting consequences.

One of those outcomes is the way in which we experienced love in adulthood.

To maintain a reasonably happy relationship, we need to be able to manage emotional closeness as well as distance. We need to be able to separate and also reunite.

When two people part in the morning, they need to be able to disconnect, and at the end of the day, to reconnect so that they continue to feel special in each other’s lives.

Some couples can manage connection and disconnection more easily than others. If you’ve been confused about some of your partner’s behaviour, seeing it as related to attachment gives you a new handle as to what might be happening.

For more insights into romance, see our longer article on the science of connection.

Our book on attachment also explores romantic love.

 

sabre-tooth-tigers-bears-connected baby

Go back to The science page.

Dementia

dementia-connected-babyIt is common to believe that dementia can progress so far that it makes it almost impossible to ‘find’ the person inside.

It can seem as if they have disappeared entirely into their illness. Science is now helping us to understand that is not true.

Human beings are communicative, right from birth, and they remain so until the very end of life.

Our communicative nature is perhaps the characteristic most central to our humanity. This insight provides a basis for thinking deeply about how different periods of life — even those as ‘far apart’ as infancy and the elder years — are intertwined.

Indeed, science is now beginning to map common symptoms of dementia onto the attachment styles developed in childhood.

Understanding the physiology of connection is core to the functioning of human brains and bodies gives us a whole new way to approach the care and treatment of people with dementia.

Dr Maggie Ellis filmed by STV News November 2014.

Experts Make Dementia Communication Breakthrough – a simple approach to communicating with people with dementia is helping families retain an emotional bond with their loved ones.

View the full lecture on You Tube  (will open in a new window)
“How dementia helps us understand our common humanity” by Dr Maggie Ellis

For more insights into dementia and connection, see our connected baby guides.

Go back to The science page.

Attachment

attachment-connected-babyEvery time you start your day, you draw on the emotional attachment processes your brain built as a baby.

Perhaps you wish your partner a good day at work, give the dog one last fond pat, confidently place your youngest child in the arms of her childminder, worry whether your older child is going to patch things up with his mates at school, and turn your mind nervously to the meeting you will shortly be having with your manager.

All of these experiences travel personalised neural circuits, not in place when you were born which which you had laid down largely by the time you were one year of age.

It is astounding to realise how much of our adult lives are influenced by experiences we had before we could walk, talk, or consciously remember.

For more insights into attachment and connection, see our connected baby guides and films.

Go back to The science page.