Chapter 2

From EMOTION:  Theory, Research, and Experience

Academic Press


by James P. Henry


Pp 37-60



“…beneath the human brain’s huge association cortex, there are hormone-driven neuronal complexes mediating the emotions and behavior critical for self and species preservation (MacLean, 1975).  (Henry/np/48)”

region “at the front end of the hypothalamus is critical” (Henry/np/50)” for maternal behavior involving progesterone and estrogen

“There is evidence that in females, as well as males, testosterone lies at the basis of the persistence that comes with the achievement of status (Purifoy & Koopman, 1978)”  (Henry/np/50)”

mentions testosterone interference in developing male fetus causing homosexuality when mother is stressed at critical period of gonadal development

talks about premenstrual affects

“Klaus and Kennell (1982) have shown that if a mother must defer the fondling of her newborn baby for hours or even days, it is harder for her to become attached and devoted to it.  Such is not the case if the mother is allowed to care for it within minutes of delivery.  The precise circumstances at the moment of birth importantly facilitate the mother’s later response (Klaus & Kennel, 1982)….New research shows how the verbal, together with the subtle nonverbal, interchanges that go on between mother and young infant determine their attachment (Trevarthan, 1983).  (Henry/np/52)”


“…due to a specific neuroendocrine distress response…. It is know that primates, which have never seen a snake before, show strong responses of fear to one crawling on the floor….  The fact that phobias more commonly occur to objects and events that our hunter-gatherer ancestors would also fear suggests that inherited patterns may be involved (Torgersen, 1979).  They include:  fear of heights, spiders and snakes, rats and mice, thunder and lightening, blood and wounds, illness and death, eating with strangers, being watched, and being crowded or confined (Melville, 1977). (Henry/np/53)”

This makes me think that an infant would have an innate fear of the terrifying face of its mother – not something that it would have to learn.  The same would be true of its response to her rough handling and raised voice.

Talks about innate linguistic brain structures p 53


“Ekman, Levenson, and Friesen (1983) have demonstrated that there are universal facial expressions of emotion.  (Henry/np/53)….  Regardless of language, or whether the culture is Western or Eastern, industrialized or preliterate, happiness, sadness, anger, fear, disgust, and surprise all elicit comparable facial expressions (Ekman, 1971).  (Henry/np/54)”

talks about basic role gestures:  threat displays, embraces, mother response to infants, smiles


“The mother responding to her newly born infant not only greets it with lively face to face smiles, but she also lifts her head with bobbing movements, raises her eyebrows, briefly, and then lowers her head toward the baby, smiling and talking.  This entire pattern is repeated rhythmically.  It is through nonlearned, instinctive ritual dances such as these, accompanied with strong emotions, that the mother and infant establish their permanent attachment (Trevarthan, 1983).  (Henry/np/54)”

talks about leadership between 2 and 3 year olds


“Hollander has described the response of adults to being held or cuddled (Hollander & McGehee, 1974).  He observes that the gesture results in a sense of security, protection, and being loved.  This contrasts with a woman’s almost linear decrease in voluntary coital activity as pregnancy advances; a time during which the wish to be held is intensified.  He concludes that the need for body contact, to be hugged, is inbuilt and separate from sexuality (Hollanger & McGehee, 1974).  (Henry/np/54)”

talks about baby hunger


“In a stud of romantic love, Tennov (1979) has described another aspect of the same basic attachment instinct that is involved in baby hunger.  The frequent emotional swings of the lovesick, from extreme separation distress to elation during the vicissitudes of courtship, supports Liebowitz’s suggestion, in his The Chemstry of Love, that hormones, such as endorphins and catecholamines, are involved as the brain’s limbic centers seem to do a rapid flip-flop (Liebowitz, 1983).  This condition is accompanied by obsess ional preoccupation with the loved one, and long term memory changes occur that trigger lasting attachments.  This attachment has many of the qualities of the mother-infant bond, and related neuroendocrine mechanisms may be involved.  The intense emotionality and involvement expressed in dreams by lovesick persons, together with increased use of metaphors and symbols, and the expression of poetic thought suggest right hemispheric and limbic system activation.  As in baby hunger, there may be a shift of focus to inherited or archetypal patterns that also appear to characterize the phobias.  (Henry/np/55)”



“There is a series of inbuilt behavioral patterns that are backed by the catecholamines and corticoid hormones and portray, by facial expression and bodily gestures as well as accompanying appropriate behavior, the basic emotions of fear, rage, sadness, and happiness.  In addition there is evidence that the behavioral expression of attachment to the young follows an inbuilt biogrammar that is triggered by hormones.  In the case of maternal behavior, the gonadal hormones, estrogen and progesterone, appear to be involved.  The work of MacLean indicates that in the rodent, the neocortex is not (Henry/np/55) necessary for its expression (MacLean, 1975).  The striatal complex and the limbic system, along with remaining brainstem structures, are sufficient for giving expression to a wide range of unlearned forms of species typical behavior.  Ongoing work with the expressions of the human face – with mother-infant interplay, with the innate social gestures of young children, as well as the interracially uniform gestures of threatening and welcoming – show that these hormonally sensitized patterns are inherited and rate as prebuilt physiological mechanisms.  The intense emotion of a woman’s hunger for an infant, or of lovers for each other, may be due to the arousal of these same inherited patterns of response.  From Jung’s point of view, these behaviors and the emotions that accompany them would be expressions of activity of the archetypes of the collective unconscious (Jung, 1966)”  (Henry/np/56)”

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s