The book presents evidence that babies' brains develop differently in the first few months of life depending on the amount and type of care they receive in that time. The evidence suggests that the prefrontal cortex and, within that, the orbitofrontal area are stimulated and interconnect more powerfully when a child is demonstrably loved. The advantage of positive development is increased confidence and an ability to empathise with others. Neglect can lead to increased anxiety, insensitivity and aggression.
The findings may have political implications, since the demand for parents to reduce the time they spend with their child because of work commitments leads to an increased emphasis on institutional child care.
There are also implications for gender politics as women are frequently expected to take on the burden of child care, rather than the father, and this developmental finding could be used to argue for a reduced role for women in the workplace.
Other books by Sue Gerhardt include 'The Selfish Society' (see Google).
- Why Love Matters (official site)
- Guardian Newspaper's review of Why Love Matters
- 'Cradle of civilisation' - Guardian opinion piece written by Sue Gerhardt
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