Developmental Interpersonal Neurobiology, Attachment Style and Mindsight

Sharon Joy Ng*

Developmental Interpersonal Neurobiology, Attachment Style and Mindsight.

“Human connections create the neural connections from which the mind emerges”. Dan Siegel described the two basic processes that shape the developing mind, some of which are experience-expectant and others that are experience-dependent. In the former, development depends on minimal stimulation of the circuits to maintain the neurons and their connections. In the experience dependent conditions, the laying down of new neural circuits is dependent upon experience.

Recent research on epigenetics reveals that experience is the trigger that activates genes. This
contrasts with the earlier beliefs that genes alone determine our destiny. There are optimal
times during development, called critical periods, when experiences are vital to the unfolding of our genetic potential.

For example, we know that there is a critical period for learning language and that without experiences in communicating with others, we cannot develop this potential. Similarly, without certain forms of verbal and non-verbal communication as we develop, our brain will lack the integration of the left/right hemispheric coherency that is necessary for socially attuned and compassionate interactions.

In other situations, suboptimal caregiving may not have fostered the development of
a coherent sense of a core or autobiographical self. We can view these situations as being the inadequate development of a coherent sense of another’s mind within the mind of the child. Such interactions are “incoherent,” and fail to facilitate the child’s own integrative processes.

Collaborative communication that is contingent and attuned refers to such aspects as eye contact, facial expressions, tone of voice, bodily gestures, timing and intensity of responses between the caregiver and child.

Psychol Cogn Sci Open J. 2017; 3(3): e9-e13. doi: 10.17140/PCSOJ-3-e007