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Evolution of neuroendocrine mechanisms linking attachment and life history: The social neuroendocrinology of middle childhood

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  12 February 2009

Mark V. Flinn
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211Flinnm@missouri.edu
Michael P. Muehlenbein
Affiliation:
Department of Anthropology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405mpm1@indiana.edu
Davide Ponzi
Affiliation:
Neurobiology Program, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211. depr29@mizzou.edu

Abstract

An extended period of childhood and juvenility is a distinctive aspect of human life history. This stage appears to be important for learning cultural, social, and ecological skills that help prepare the child for the adult socio-competitive environment. The unusual pattern of adrenarche in humans (and chimpanzees) may facilitate adaptive modification of the neurobiological mechanisms that underpin reproductive strategies. Longitudinal monitoring of DHEA/S in naturalistic context could provide important new insights into these aspects of child development.

Type
Open Peer Commentary
Copyright
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2009

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