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Gilmer, W. S., & McKinney, W. T. (2003). Early experience and depressive disorders: human and non-human primate studies. Journal of Affective Disorders, 75(2), 97-113.

This paper reviews evidence from both human and non-human primate studies ........ Experimental paradigms in primates have documented the important role of undeveloped (social deprivation) or disrupted attachment systems (social separation). .........Cognitively, such animals require longer habituation time for any task and demonstrate increased perseverance on tasks following non-reward. Physiological effects include an altered hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal response to stress, changes in diurnal temperature regulation, and alterations in immune function. Neurochemical effects include abnormalities in noradrenergic, serotonergic, and dopaminergic systems. Even neuroanatomical changes following early social deprivation have been reported. Studies with primates have also confirmed that early maternal and peer separations are major behavioral and neurobiological events with both short- and long-term consequences that parallel human depression. Future utilization of experimental paradigms in non-human primates may assist in better understanding the role of early experiences in predisposing to the development of affective illnesses in humans.

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Machado, C. J., & Bachevalier, J. (2003). Non-human primate models of childhood psychopathology: the promise and the limitations. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry and Allied Disciplines, 44(1), 64-87.

................Previous investigations of both adult human and non-human primates have indicated that primate social behavior and emotion are regulated by a complex neural network, in which the amygdala and orbital frontal cortex play major roles....... We will also highlight 'critical periods' of macaque development, during which major refinements in the behavioral repertoire appear to coincide with significant neural maturation of the amygdala and/or orbital frontal cortex. .....This experimental approach may provide a new and important way to inform and stimulate research on childhood psychopathologies, such as autism, schizophrenia and Williams syndrome....

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Maestripieri, D. (2005). Early experience affects the intergenerational transmission of infant abuse in rhesus monkeys. PNAS, 102(27), 9726-9729.

Maternal abuse of offspring in macaque monkeys shares some similarities with child maltreatment in humans, including its transmission across generations. .........Nine of 16 females who were abused by their mothers in their first month of life, regardless of whether they were reared by their biological mothers or by foster mothers, exhibited abusive parenting with their firstborn offspring, whereas none of the females reared by nonabusive mothers did. These results suggest that the intergenerational transmission of infant abuse in rhesus monkeys is the result of early experience and not genetic inheritance...........

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Maestripieri, D., & Roney, J. R. (2006). Evolutionary developmental psychology: Contributions from comparative research with nonhuman primates. Developmental Review, 26(2), 120-137.

............Comparative research with animals, and especially with nonhuman primates, can provide evidence of adaptation in human psychological and behavioral traits by highlighting possible analogies (i.e., similar function, but independent evolution) or homologies (i.e., inheritance from a common ancestor) between human traits and similar traits present in animals. Data from nonhuman primates have played a crucial role in our understanding of infant attachment to the caregiver as a developmental adaptation for survival. Primate and human data are also consistent in suggesting that female interest in infants during the juvenile years may be a developmental adaptation for reproduction that facilitates the acquisition of maternal skills prior to the onset of reproduction. (c) 2006 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

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McCormack, K., Sanchez, M. M., Bardi, M., & Maestripieri, D. (2006). Maternal care patterns and behavioral development of rhesus macaque abused infants in the first 6 months of life. Developmental Psychobiology, 48(7), 537-550.

We investigated the maternal care patterns of rhesus macaque mothers who physically abuse their infants, and compared their infants' behavior to that of nonabused infants. ......abusive mothers have a distinct parenting style characterized by high rates of rejection and contact-breaking from their infants. Compared to control infants, abused infants exhibited signs of delayed independence from their mothers including higher rates of distress calls and anxiety, lower rates of contact-breaking, and differences in play.. Detailed knowledge of the early experience of abused infants is crucial for understanding possible pathological alterations in behavior and neuroendocrine function later in life.

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Moriceau, S., & Sullivan, R. M. (2005). Neurobiology of infant attachment. Developmental Psychobiology, 47(3), 230-242.

A strong attachment to the caregiver is critical for survival in altricial species, including humans. Using a mammalian imprinting model, we are assessing the neural circuitry that enables infant rats to attach quickly to a caregiver thus enhancing survival in the nest. Specifically, the hyper-junctioning noradrenergic locus coeruleus (LC) enables pups to learn rapid, robust preference for the caregiver Conversely, a hypo-functional amygdala appears to prevent the infant from learning aversions to the caregiver. Adult LC and amygdala functional emergence correlates with sensitive period termination. This study suggests the neonatal brain is not an immature version of the adult brain but is uniquely designed to optimize attachment to the caregiver. ......... the work reviewed here suggests a new conceptual framework, in which to explore human attachments, particularly attachments to abusive caregivers.