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The Development of Social EngagementNeurobiological Perspectives$
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Peter J. Marshall and Nathan A. Fox

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195168716

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195168716.001.0001

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The Neurobiology of Social Bonds and Affiliation

The Neurobiology of Social Bonds and Affiliation

(p.171) 7 The Neurobiology of Social Bonds and Affiliation
The Development of Social Engagement

Miranda M. Lim

Larry J. Young

Oxford University Press

There has been limited knowledge of the neurobiology of social attachment and the cognitive processes involved, despite the fact that social relationship is a human trait that is given importance across cultures. This chapter examines social bonding between adults, such as romantic attachment between lovers, using various animal models that all feature selective, long-lasting pair-bond formation and a clear onset of the formation of social bonds, and which allow identification and manipulation of factors that either prevent or facilitate bond formation in the laboratory. Discussions suggest that the neurobiology underlying pair bonding could involve the same pathways required by other forms of motivation, like those in behavioural paradigms of conditioned reinforcement. Social bonding is seen as enabling positive affect in children and socially acceptable adult behaviours.

Keywords:   neurobiology, social attachment, cognitive processes, social relationships, social bonding, pair-bond formation

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