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C. Sue Carter

C. Sue Carter is Professor of Psychiatry and Codirector of the Brain Body Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Titles by This Editor

A New Synthesis

Attachment and bonding are evolved processes; the mechanisms that permit the development of selective social bonds are assumed to be very ancient, based on neural circuitry rooted deep in mammalian evolution, but the nature and timing of these processes and their ultimate and proximate causes are only beginning to be understood. In this Dahlem Workshop Report, scientists from different disciplines—including anthropology, psychology, psychiatry, and behavioral biology—come together to explore the concepts of attachment and bonding from diverse perspectives. In their studies they seek to understand the causes or the consequences of attachment and bonding in general and their different qualities in individual development in particular. They address such questions as biobehavioral processes in attachment and bonding; early social attachment and its influences on later patterns of behavior; bonding later in life; and adaptive and maladaptive (or pathological) outcomes. The studies confirm that social bonds have consequences for virtually all aspects of behavior and may be protective in the face of both physical and emotional challenges.

A full understanding of the biology and behavior of humans cannot be complete without the collective contributions of the social sciences, cognitive sciences, and neurosciences. This book collects eighty-two of the foundational articles in the emerging discipline of social neuroscience.

The book addresses five main areas of research: multilevel integrative analyses of social behavior, using the tools of neuroscience, cognitive science, and social science to examine specific cases of social interaction; the relationships between social cognition and the brain, using noninvasive brain imaging to document brain function in various social situations; rudimentary biological mechanisms for motivation, emotion, and attitudes, and the shaping of these mechanisms by social factors; the biology of social relationships and interpersonal processes; and social influences on biology and health.

This book examines the biological, especially the neural, substrates of affiliation and related social behaviors. Affiliation refers to social behaviors that bring individuals closer together. This includes such associations as attachment, parent-offspring interactions, pair-bonding, and the building of coalitions. Affiliations provide a social matrix within which other behaviors, including reproduction and aggression, may occur. While reproduction and aggression also reduce the distance between individuals, their expression is regulated in part by the positive social fabric of affiliative behavior.

Until recently, researchers have paid little attention to the regulatory physiology and neural processes that subserve affiliative behaviors. The integrative approach in this book reflects the constructive interactions between those who study behavior in the context of natural history and evolution and those who study the nervous system.

The book contains the partial proceedings of a conference of the same title held in Washington, DC, in 1996. The full proceedings was published as part of the Annals of the York Academy of Sciences.