Monday, July 03, 2006

Oxytocin, Affiliative Neuroscience, make the NYTimes Op-Ed page!

The conservative columnist David Brooks has a Sunday Times (July 2) piece titled "Of Human Bonding," He suggests that some of Mr. Buffet's billions given to the Gates foundation could well be spent on research on affiliative neuroscience and hormones like oxytocin that promote bonding and nurturing behavior (see my Feb. 13 posting on oxytocin). Brooks notes that "Attachment theory has been thriving for decades, but it's had little impact on public policy. That's because the policy world is a supermagnet for people who are emotionally avoidant. If you go to a Congressional hearing and talk demography, you are treated like a serious policy wonk, but if you start talking about relationships, people look at you as if you're Oprah." ...."everything we're learning about the brain confirms the centrality of attachments to human development and the wisdom of Adam Smith's observation that the "chief part of human happiness arises from the consciousness of being beloved." (Brain research rarely reveals anything new about human nature; it just tells you which of the old verities are most important.)" Brooks points out that billions of dollars have been spent trying to improve math in reading scores in high schools, without engaging the core issue: the emotional disengagement caused by lack of caring and attachment.

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