Document Detail

Reciprocal face-to-face communication between rhesus macaque mothers and their newborn infants.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  19818617     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Human mothers interact emotionally with their newborns through exaggerated facial expressions, speech, mutual gaze, and body contact, a capacity that has long been considered uniquely human [1-4]. Current developmental psychological theories propose that this pattern of mother-infant exchange promotes the regulation of infant emotions [4-6] and serves as a precursor of more complex forms of social exchange including perspective taking and empathy. Here we report that in rhesus macaques, mother-infant pairs also communicate intersubjectively via complex forms of emotional exchanges including exaggerated lipsmacking, sustained mutual gaze, mouth-mouth contacts, and neonatal imitation. Infant macaques solicit their mother's affiliative responses and actively communicate to her. However, this form of communication disappears within the infant's first month of life. Our data challenge the view that the mother-infant communicative system functions in order to sustain proximity and that infants are simply passive recipients in such interaction. Thus, emotional communication between mother and infant is not uniquely human. Instead, we can trace back to macaques the evolutionary foundation of those behaviors that are crucial for the establishment of a functional capacity to socially exchange with others.
Pier Francesco Ferrari; Annika Paukner; Consuel Ionica; Stephen J Suomi
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural; Research Support, N.I.H., Intramural; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't     Date:  2009-10-08
Journal Detail:
Title:  Current biology : CB     Volume:  19     ISSN:  1879-0445     ISO Abbreviation:  Curr. Biol.     Publication Date:  2009 Nov 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2009-11-05     Completed Date:  2010-02-12     Revised Date:  2013-05-31    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  9107782     Medline TA:  Curr Biol     Country:  England    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1768-72     Citation Subset:  IM    
Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva e Funzionale, Università di Parma, Italy.
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MeSH Terms
Animals, Newborn / psychology*
Behavior, Animal*
Biological Evolution
Macaca mulatta / psychology*
Maternal Behavior*
Nonverbal Communication*
Social Behavior*
Grant Support
Comment In:
Curr Biol. 2009 Nov 3;19(20):R941-3   [PMID:  19889368 ]

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