Researchers believe that the connection between a mother and her child, which has characterized and shaped human social behaviors, is connected to increased dopamine levels in the brain.
In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, researchers found for the first time that the neurotransmitter dopamine plays a crucial role in human bonding. “Animal studies have shown the role of dopamine in bonding, but this was the first scientific evidence that it is involved in human bonding” says Professor Lisa Feldman Barrett.
The study also showed that the brain’s amygdala network plays a crucial role in maternal bonding. This is one of the first studies to use human models to study early bonding. Previous studies have only used rodents as models.
This study was led by Shir Atzil of the Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Harvard Medical School.