Hunger For Babies

“The researchers concluded: ‘These results show that the odor of newborns undoubtedly plays a role in the development of motivational and emotional responses between mother and child by eliciting maternal care functions such as breastfeeding and protection.”

Researcher Johannes Frasnelli said: ‘What we know now and what is new is there is a neural response linked to the status of biological mother.”

There’s also an audio file on NPR site of a brief interview with Frasnelli. See:

Please note that in the late 1970‘s, an immediate-moment manner of analysis of animal behavior, in other words, learning not to read human thoughts and rationales into what dogs do, revealed to me what the latest research has only now discovered: that the hunger circuitry is the basis of emotional grounding, the basis of seeing and feeling one’s self in another being.

“The mother-child bond that is part of the feeling of maternal love is a product of evolution through natural selection in an environment where such a bond is essential for the newborn’s survival.”

Read more:

So why would something as primal and primitive as hunger be the basis of an evolutionarily advanced altruistic impulse? Because hunger, in conjunction with balance, is how an individual arrives at a sense of their self, a construct that simultaneously proffers a “hook” whereby another being can be assimilated into that same sense of self and personal identity. When an organism hungers for something, it is importing the essence of that thing into its self. (This is the fundamental purpose of the sense of smell.) This construct of a sense of self by way of hunger is the organizing principle of animal consciousness, one which ultimately facilitates the mother-child bond, (but it’s not specific to mothers either, and I would furthermore point out that it is not restricted to smell, the hunger circuitry and ingestive impulse is also kindled within all emotionally healthy adults visually, so that they feel this way in the presence of a baby with bulbous (preyful, aka chubby) cheeks, belly, thighs and plump lil’ tush.

In evolution, one thing leads to another. One evolutionary advancement telescopes out of another. All relationships, including mother and child, are predicated on the Predator (subject that projects emotion) and Prey (object that absorbs emotion) Dynamic. INARGUABLY the oldest relationship between living beings is the predator/prey relationship, from which all other relationships have emerged, male/female, mother/offspring, peer-to-peer. (I also categorize the parasite/host relationship as falling under predator/prey dynamic, or perhaps I should say the first elaboration of it into a complex social relationship.) The predator and prey relationship predates mother/offspring by many millions upon millions of years and complex relationships evolved from simpler relationships. The basis of the nurturing impulse and caregiving response was well established through the phenomenon of emotional projection (in which the predator lusts for its prey and knows how to hunt, as well as which the prey fears the predator and know how to evade) and the construct of a self eons before there were mothers giving birth to their children.

In the natural scheme of things, the prey controls the predator, if that is, the preyful object is equipped, or can learn to exploit this emotional leverage. When the mother assimilates the baby into a sense of her self, then the baby controls the mother’s emotional responses because keeping baby happy and calm is how mother controls her own nervous thresholds and remains grounded. The nurturing/care giving/protective impulse is an auto-tuning/feedback loop. But this not because such a “bond is essential for the newborn’s survival” per se——but rather, because this is how emotion turns change into information, emotional disequilibrium that can be grounded through the ingestive circuitry is subconsciously construed as part of one’s self. This is a fundamental feature of animal consciousness and which is indeed information that ensures the newborn’s survival, but not because one mother was better than another mother at responding to their babys’ vulnerability and helplessness, but because projecting one’s self into vulnerable, helpless, i.e. preyful aspects, is a fundamental feature of the animal mind and which evolved long before there were mothers and their babies.

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Published September 29, 2013 by Kevin Behan
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3 responses to “Hunger For Babies”

  1. the truth says:

    there is an alternative reason that babies smell so good. And that is because God made them that way. I know it is possible to create all kinds of theories about why babies are cute, why they smell good, and various other things…but u should stop for one second and consider the possibility of God Existing and the possibility that maybe people love babies and each other for more that just biological reasons. Peace,

  2. kbehan says:

    What I’m saying doesn’t touch on the question of a Creator whatsoever. I’m talking about the HOW and not the WHY. For example, one can rightly believe that the physical body is a magnificent creation of God, and yet at the same time be receptive to probing the mechanical aspects by which the body functions. There’s a logical HOW to the body that is independent to the WHY of the body. The reality that neurons work according to a chemical cascade, that oxygen is exchanged within the lungs, doesn’t interface with one’s underlying faith about the WHY question. So I’m saying that the nature-of-nature-is-to-nurture, that all life is linked into an intelligent network by way of emotion and yet at the same time there is a mechanical aspect to how emotion weaves the many into one. While I have my own personal beliefs, the construct of my theory follows a logic that stands on its own and resides apart from my convictions. The logic of animal behavior as I see it, demonstrates that consciousness is energy, it follows an energetic logic that is independent of material causes, just as does electromagnetism as well, and that this logic of behavior cannot be accounted for in Neo-Darwinistic/modern behaviorism logic which in its material reductionism (the random mutation of genes in a world of limited resources) conflates the HOW with the WHY and thus becomes a faith based religion in its own right. I don’t know what the source of electromagnetism or gravity is, all I know is that it works according to an energetic logic rather than by human reason. My reading of animal behavior leads me to say the exact same thing about consciousness.

  3. wetnosewarmhearts says:

    Another recent take on the sweetness of babies. The cute-attraction to ingestion link.

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Books about Natural Dog Training by Kevin Behan

In Your Dog Is Your Mirror, dog trainer Kevin Behan proposes a radical new model for understanding canine behavior: a dog’s behavior and emotion, indeed its very cognition, are driven by our emotion. The dog doesn’t respond to what the owner thinks, says, or does; it responds to what the owner feels. And in this way, dogs can actually put people back in touch with their own emotions. Behan demonstrates that dogs and humans are connected more profoundly than has ever been imagined — by heart — and that this approach to dog cognition can help us understand many of dogs’ most inscrutable behaviors. This groundbreaking, provocative book opens the door to a whole new understanding between species, and perhaps a whole new understanding of ourselves.
  Natural Dog Training is about how dogs see the world and what this means in regards to training. The first part of this book presents a new theory for the social behavior of canines, featuring the drive to hunt, not the pack instincts, as seminal to canine behavior. The second part reinterprets how dogs actually learn. The third section presents exercises and handling techniques to put this theory into practice with a puppy. The final section sets forth a training program with a special emphasis on coming when called.
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