Emotions, stress, and maternal motivation in primates
Article first published online: 24 SEP 2010
© 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
American Journal of Primatology
Special Issue: Special Section on Understanding Emotions in Primates: In Honor of Darwin's 200th Birthday
Volume 73, Issue 6, pages 516–529, June 2011
How to Cite
Maestripieri, D. (2011), Emotions, stress, and maternal motivation in primates. Am. J. Primatol., 73: 516–529. doi: 10.1002/ajp.20882
- Issue published online: 20 APR 2011
- Article first published online: 24 SEP 2010
- Manuscript Accepted: 12 AUG 2010
- Manuscript Revised: 8 AUG 2010
- Manuscript Received: 2 JUL 2010
- maternal motivation;
- rhesus monkeys;
Recent research conducted with nonhuman primates confirms that adaptive emotional processes, such as maternal attraction arousability and maternal anxiety arousability, enhance and sustain female motivation to interact with infants, invest in them, and protect them during the postpartum period. Changes in these emotional processes, and concomitant changes in maternal motivation, facilitate the reduction and eventual termination of maternal investment associated with infant weaning. Although laboratory studies of rodents and socially deprived rhesus monkeys have suggested that nulliparous females are neophobic and find infant stimuli aversive, recent primate research indicates that neophobia or aversion to infant stimuli do not occur in females with normal developmental experience. Furthermore, although some rodent and human studies have shown that lactation is accompanied by physiological hyporesponsiveness to stress, other studies of rodents, nonhuman primates, and humans indicate that mothers are highly vulnerable to stress and that stress-induced dysregulation of emotions can interfere with maternal motivation and parenting behavior. It is possible that some aspects of the emotional and experiential regulation of maternal motivation and parental behavior are different in different mammalian species. However, variation in the environments in which subjects are tested and in their developmental experience may also be responsible for the some discrepancies between the results of different studies. Am. J. Primatol. 73:516–529, 2011. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.