Non-Fiction Books:

Formative Experiences

The Interaction of Caregiving, Culture, and Developmental Psychobiology



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Formative Experiences
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The authors offer a unique exploration of the formative effects of children's early life experiences, with an emphasis on interactions among neurodevelopmental, behavioural and cultural dynamics. Multidisciplinary case studies focus on specific periods of development, or windows of susceptibility, during which care giving and other cultural practices potentially have a long-lasting impact on brain and behaviour. Chapters describe in detail: how social experience interacts with neurodevelopmental disorders; how epigenetic mechanisms mediate the effects of early environment; the interaction of temperament and environmental influences; the implications of early life stress or trauma for mental health and well-being; and the cultural shaping of sexual development and gender identity. The final section translates insights from this work into a fresh appraisal of child-rearing practices, clinical interventions and global public health policy that affect the mental health and well-being of children around the world.

Author Biography

Carol M. Worthman, Ph.D., is Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Anthropology and Director of the Laboratory for Comparative Human Biology at Emory University. She combines laboratory, field, and population research for the study of biocultural dynamics in human development, reproduction, and mental and physical health. Her research has spanned twelve countries, including Kenya, South Africa, Nepal, Egypt, Japan, and Papua New Guinea, as well as rural, urban, and semi-urban areas of the United States. Paul M. Plotsky, Ph.D., is the GlaxoSmithKline Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Emory University. Plotsky has adjunct appointments in the departments of cell biology and psychology and the Yerkes National Primate Research Center. He is on the faculty of the Graduate Program in Neuroscience, the Endocrine Training Program, the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, and the undergraduate Neurobiology and Behavior Program. His research is focused on the interaction between genes and the perinatal environment in shaping the developing nervous system. Using rodent and nonhuman primate models in collaboration with clinical researchers, he has developed animal models of vulnerability to a variety of psychiatric and medical diseases. Daniel S. Schechter, M.D., is the Director of the Consult-Liaison and Parent-Infant Research Units of the Child and Adolescent Psychiatry Service at the Children's Hospital, University Hospitals of Geneva, and the University of Geneva, Faculty of Medicine, Switzerland. He is also Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry in the Division of Developmental Neuroscience and Behavior, and Director of Child Research at the Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research of the Columbia University College of Physicians & Surgeons. The focus of his research is the understanding of the psychological and neurobiological processes that underlie the intergenerational transmission of violence, trauma, and associated psychopathology during formative early development and in the context of the parent-child relationship. He is currently prospectively exploring pre- and post-natal predictors of individual differences in general child outcome and in response to psychosocial intervention. Constance A. Cummings, Ph.D., is project director of the non-profit Foundation for Psychocultural Research, which supports interdisciplinary research and scholarship in anthropology, psychiatry, and the behavioral neurosciences, with an emphasis on the interactions between biology and culture. She received her doctorate in theoretical linguistics from New York University.
Release date Australia
April 7th, 2010
Edited by Carol M. Worthman Edited by Constance A. Cummings Edited by Daniel S. Schechter Edited by Paul M. Plotsky
Country of Publication
United Kingdom
11 Tables, unspecified; 7 Halftones, unspecified; 43 Line drawings, unspecified
Cambridge University Press
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