In the first study to examine the effect of different types of care for infant chimpanzees on cognition, researchers found chimpanzees who were given extra emotionally-based care were more cognitively advanced than human infants.
Humans overtake chimpanzees in development terms as they grow older but the study sends stark warnings that looking after just an infant’s physical needs is likely to result in a child who is maladjusted, unhappy and under-achieving.
The study was carried out by psychology expert Professor Kim Bard, of the Centre for the Study of Emotion at the University of Portsmouth.
She said: “The attachment system of infant chimpanzees appears surprisingly similar to that found in human infants. Early experiences, either of warm, responsive care-giving or of extreme deprivation, have a dramatic impact on emotional and cognitive outcomes in both chimpanzees and humans.
“Parental sensitivity is an important factor in human infant development, contributing to emotionally and cognitively strong children, and it would seem the same is true for great apes, as well.”
Professor Bard studied 46 chimpanzees in the Great Ape Nursery at the Yerkes National Primate Research Centre in Atlanta, America, in the 1980s and 1990s. The chimpanzees were in the nursery because their mothers’ maternal skills were so inadequate the infants were at risk of dying.
She found that chimpanzees given 20 hours a week of responsive care, which looks after the emotional and physical development, were happier, more advanced and better adjusted than chimpanzees given standard institutionalised care which meets just their physical needs.
She said: “Those given responsive care were less easily stressed, less often attached to ‘comfort blankets’, had healthier relationships with their caregivers and were less likely to develop stereotypic rocking. They were also more advanced intellectually than chimpanzees reared with standard institutionalised care.”
The responsive care was given by human caregivers who would play, groom, feed and interact with the infants. The caregivers focused on nurturing emotional and communicative well-being, similar to that found in the parenting behaviour of well adjusted mother chimpanzees. This level of care lasted through the first year of life and the chimpanzees’ development was assessed at various stages using the same tests as those used to assess development and attachment in human infants.
The chimpanzees raised with standard institutionalised care were more likely to show signs of ‘disorganised attachment’, including rocking, or clasping themselves or a blanket, instead of seeking comfort from a carer when distressed. They also showed other contradictory behaviours such as being distressed in the absence of a carer but ‘freezing’ when the main carer returned after a brief absence.
In human infants, ‘disorganised attachments’ are seen in children whose parents have unresolved losses or other trauma, and/or when the infants are abused or neglected.
Dr Bard said: “Responsive care, which meets infants’ emotional as well as physical needs, stimulates cognitive and emotional development.
“Infant chimpanzees who were given this care were more advanced and less likely to develop attachment to things like security blankets than chimpanzees whose care was only meeting their physical needs.”
It is the first study to investigate individual differences in attachment relationships in great apes and is also the first intervention study with non-human primates evaluating the effects of two types of human care, differing in quality and quantity, on infant chimpanzees’ cognitive development and attachment security.
The study was co-authored by Professor Bard and Krisztina Ivan of the University of Portsmouth’s Centre for the Study of Emotion and Professor Marinus van IJzendoorn and Dr Marian Bakermans-Kranenburg of the Centre for Child and Family Studies at Leiden University in the Netherlands. Partial funding was provided by the European Commission for the Feelix Growing project. The study is published in Developmental Psychobiology.
Kate Daniell | alfa
Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München
Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich
Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.
"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...
In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.
A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...
By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.
"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...
COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.
In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...
'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.
Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...
14.10.2016 | Event News
14.10.2016 | Event News
12.10.2016 | Event News
21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine
21.10.2016 | Information Technology
21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences