Though I bookmarked Diane Ackerman's article on interpersonal neurobiology when it appeared in the NYTimes Opinionator blog last year, it wasn't until this morning when I accidentally clicked on it that I really read it.
Go ahead and treat yourself to the whole article; it's short and well worth it. Here's a taste:
"Wordlessly, relying on the heart's semaphores, the mother says all an infant needs to hear, communicating through eyes, face and voice. Thanks to advances in neuroimaging, we now have evidence that a baby's first attachments imprint its brain. The patterns of a lifetime's behaviors, thoughts, self-regard and choice of sweethearts all begin in this crucible."
"We inhabit a mirror-world in which every important relationship, whether with spouse, friend, or child, shapes the brain, which in turn shapes our relationships."
"During idylls of safety, when your brain knows you're with someone you can trust, it needn't waste precious resources coping with stressors or menace. Instead it may spend its lifeblood learning new things or fine-tuning the process of healing. Its doors of perception swing wide open."