Oxytocin has been called the “love hormone,” even though its effect isn’t always that lovely. It’s thought to deepen the bond that a mom has with her newborn. But what about the dads, who don’t get pregnant or breastfeed? It turns out that a father’s interactions with his children produce a similar rise in oxytocin levels.
Researchers have found that emotionally involved fathers feel other hormonal effects: reduced levels of aggression-promoting testosterone; higher levels of prolactin, a lust-squelching hormone that shows up in women during breastfeeding and in men after sexual climax; and higher levels of vasopressin, a hormone linked to bonding as well as the maternal stress response.
It turns out that fathers get many of the same rushes that mothers do from parenthood — but the payoff depends on proximity and interaction. For example, researchers see the effect if the child sleeps with the parents, if the father recognizes and responds to the baby’s cries, if Dad plays with the kids. When that proximity isn’t present, the fatherhood effect isn’t as strong.
“There seems to be some kind of fundamental social-neurobiological framework that comes into play when fathers interact with their kids,” said Lee Gettler, an anthropologist at Notre Dame who worked on the prolactin study.
The Iowa Supreme Court has ruled that when a woman in a same-sex marriage gives birth to a child, her spouse should be listed as the other parent. The case involved Heather Martin Gartner, who gave birth to her daughter Mackenzie in 2009, but was told her wife Melissa would have to go through the costly process of adoption to be recognized as Mackenzie’s other parent.
At issue is that the language in Iowa’s laws about presumption of parentage are gendered (husband, father, paternity). However, the Court pointed out that the law does assume that the husband of a mother is the father — in fact, if a woman in an opposite-sex marriage were to use an anonymous sperm donor, the state would not even know when it determines her husband to be the father. Thus, the same standard should apply to lesbian couples under the Iowa Constitution’s guarantee of equal protection — the same guarantee the Court used to rule for marriage equality in 2009:
It is important for our laws to recognize that married lesbian couples who have children enjoy the same benefits and burdens as married opposite-sex couples who have children. By naming the nonbirthing spouse on the birth certificate of a married lesbian couple’s child, the child is ensured support from that parent and the parent establishes fundamental legal rights at the moment of birth. Therefore, the only explanation for not listing the nonbirthing lesbian spouse on the birth certificate is stereotype or prejudice. The exclusion of the nonbirthing spouse on the birth certificate of a child born to a married lesbian couple is not substantially related to the objective of establishing parentage.
Note that the press outlet reporting this is not free.
Pussy Riot member Maria Alyokhina will remain in solitary confinement for three more months for safety reasons, the Perm Regional Federal Penitentiary Service told RIA Novosti.
Apart from her safety concerns, Alyokhina does not want to share a cell with her fellow prisoners because she believes she was wrongly convicted, the service said.
She was placed in solitary confinement in November upon her own request after she complained that she had problems with her cellmates.
In mid-January, the Berezniki City Court rejected Alyokhina’s plea to defer her sentence on the grounds that she has a small child.
The court said the circumstance was taken into account by the Khamovniki District Court in Moscow, which passed the verdict over three Pussy Riot members, adding that no new arguments had been given to justify her punishment’s mitigation.
On March 4, the Perm Territorial Court will hear Alyokhina’s appeal against the lower court’s refusal to defer her sentence.
Are Babies Born Good? New Research Offers Surprising Answers to the Age-Old Question of Where Morality Comes From
Every parent recalls feeding an infant-the laughing, smiling and cooing as the infant eats the Cheerios proffered by mom or dad. In tine, there is a ritual which must be performed before the child will eat.. Funny faces, the spoon as airplane and babies mouth as a garage are but a few.
And then a monumental event in the development of the child occurs. One day, in the midst of feeding, the child proffers a morsel to the parent. In what seems like an instant, the child becomes aware of his or her capacity to please/satisfy the parent. The significance of this cannot be overstated. A child’s earliest thoughts are ‘me’. Feed me, hold, me, change me, etc. Now, the child becomes aware of the other.
But what if there were more to this behavior? What if the behavior is not simple but the result of very complex processes? What if babies can count? Suppose babies were sophisticated enough to determine our moods? What if babies were able to discern right from wrong and good from bad?
There are a whole lot of researchers who believe just that. In fact there are a lot of scientists who believe babies hard hardwired for certain positive (helpful) social interactions. In fact. a strong case can be made that as man evolved the need for social interactions took primacy of the needs of physical interactions.
Of course, the science isn’t so neat and orderly.
What kind of a role does culture play in the social evolution of babies (if any)? While the innate desire to help/get along may be there under what circumstances are they manifested and when are they withheld? What can we do to enhance these characteristics to help and share and what are we doing that might impede them?
No simple answers to these fascinating questions. One thing is certain- there will be a firestorm of debate and controversy surrounding this new and ongoing research.
Arber Tasimi is a 23-year-old researcher at Yale University’s Infant Cognition Center, where he studies the moral inclinations of babies—how the littlest children understand right and wrong, before language and culture exert their deep influence.”What are we at our core, before anything, before everything?” he asks. His experiments draw on the work of Jean Piaget, Noam Chomsky, his own undergraduate thesis at the University of Pennsylvania and what happened to him in New Haven, Connecticut, one Friday night last February.
It was about 9:45 p.m., and Tasimi and a friend were strolling home from dinner at Buffalo Wild Wings. Just a few hundred feet from his apartment building, he passed a group of young men in jeans and hoodies. Tasimi barely noticed them, until one landed a punch to the back of his head.
There was no time to run. The teenagers, ignoring his friend, wordlessly surrounded Tasimi, who had crumpled to the brick sidewalk. “It was seven guys versus one aspiring PhD,” he remembers. “I started counting punches, one, two, three, four, five, six, seven. Somewhere along the way, a knife came out.” The blade slashed through his winter coat, just missing his skin.
At last the attackers ran, leaving Tasimi prone and weeping on the sidewalk, his left arm broken. Police later said he was likely the random victim of a gang initiation.
After surgeons inserted a metal rod in his arm, Tasimi moved back home with his parents in Waterbury, Connecticut, about 35 minutes from New Haven, and became a creature much like the babies whose social lives he studies. He couldn’t shower on his own. His mom washed him and tied his shoes. His sister cut his meat.
Spring came. One beautiful afternoon, the temperature soared into the 70s and Tasimi, whose purple and yellow bruises were still healing, worked up the courage to stroll outside by himself for the first time. He went for a walk on a nearby jogging trail. He tried not to notice the two teenagers who seemed to be following him. “Stop catastrophizing,” he told himself again and again, up until the moment the boys demanded his headphones.
Evolutionary biologist Gordon Orians and I are working on a project to investigate the origins and evolution of the human sense of fairness, and the role it plays in modern social, economic, and political institutions. I recently gave a talk on the subject.
To begin the talk, I asked the audience members to recollect their first encounter with the concept of fairness. I had formed a fledgling hypothesis, and wanted to put it to the test.
As people raised their hands, I called on them to share their memories. A pattern quickly emerged:
“I had to take the rap for something my sister actually did!”
“My parents gave my brother a puppy, and I’m the one who loved dogs. He didn’t even like them.”
“I came from a family with nine siblings, and we had to fight each other for food.”
“I was an only child, and I really wanted a brother - all my friends had brothers.”
“I was foreign, and different, and all the other kids singled me out to pick on.”
Everyone—100 percent of an admittedly tiny sample—remembered their first encounter with fairness in its negative incarnation. My hypothesis is that this pattern holds, if not universally, at least in a very high percentage of individuals.
We apparently begin with fairness as our default position. We’re surprised and affronted when we first face a situation that seems unfair, so that’s what we remember.
It seems we’re predisposed to prefer and expect fairness.
MY PSA for this week
Published on Dec 20, 2012
Share your voice at no-controversy.com.
There is no controversy in empowering women to decide if and when to have a child.
Today, more than 200 million women and girls in developing countries who don’t want to get pregnant lack access to contraceptives.
In case you didn’t hear about this latest bit of Santorum to flow from Ricks’ mouth, here it is. Click on the video to get the truth via Ricks Reasoning. No money? Tough shit. He is a small,small man.
But they buried him with a bible… and quicklime to dissolve the evidence of abuse.
The girl told police that her father and stepmother regularly beat the boy and that Riley Choate kept him in the front bedroom of their trailer home in a folding dog cage secured with seven padlocks. She said that Riley Choate beat Christian severely in the head after he refused to eat on April 4, 2009.
An autopsy found the boy had sustained blunt force trauma to the body, internal bleeding and a skull fracture, court documents said. The boy’s death was classified as a homicide with blunt force trauma.
The next day, when the girl — who was assigned to look after the boy and assist in his punishment — checked on him after he initially refused to eat again, she found him unresponsive.
“I put my finger underneath his nose and he was not breathing,” Christina Choate said in an interview with The Times of Munster.
Dublin High Court Justice Nicholas Kearns ruled that only one chapter out of 27 in the upcoming Cork report required temporary censorship, because its subject is a priest about to face a criminal trial for rape and indecent assault. He said that chapter may be published as soon as July.
Ireland’s Justice Department, which sought the legal guidance, said it planned to publish the rest of the report sometime next week, covering the cases of 18 other child-molesting priests who evaded justice in the County Cork diocese of Cloyne.