++NOTES ON SCHORE – SOCIAL REFERENCING

SOCIAL REFERENCING from Schore/ad

With lots of brain information

2-10-7

internal working models

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Limbic areas of the human cerebral cortex show anatomical maturation at 15 months, suggesting that corticolimbic functions expressed in “emotional activities and mechanisms of memory” are operating at this specific time….  (Schore/ad/52)”

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++  last quarter of first year, critical milestone in human development = upright posture and independent locomotion = toddler

++  child can separate from mother and explores the “nonmaternal physical environment”  (schore/ad/44)

++ vision continues to be primary mode of connection with the mother

“The socioemotional function of gaze emerges at this very time, as the appearance of the infant’s new cognitive capacity to “read” mother’s face at reunions after separations coincides in time with the increase in motility.  (schore/ad/44)”

“At 10 to 12 months, social referencing experiences, a special form of attachment behavior…, first appear…, in (schore/ad/44) which the child searches the mother’s face for emotional information about the physical environment and then follows her gaze….In these visuoaffective transactions, the mother’s facially expressed emotional communications provide the infant with salient maternal appraisals of interactions and events…, especially of novel persons or objects.  Also at this time “joint visual attention” becomes intensified and the child first exhibits communicative pointing…, a social gesture…that occurs in the context of a shared activity….  In this sequence, the child points to an object in the environment but also looks at the other to check the person’s gaze as well….  This visually-driven dyadic mechanism, so synchronized that it has been described as a shared visual reality…, allows the infant to see from the adult’s point of view, and therefore acts as an interactive matrix for cultural learning….  (schore/ad/45)”  [Yet there are cultures where pointing is not allowed]

The following “…developmental advances depend upon the earlier coconstruction [sic] of an attachment bond of emotional regulation within the dyad….The child’s first sorties into the world occur under the watchful eye of the caregiver, in which he uses the mother as a beacon of orientation.  The infant, now at greater distances from the mother yet increasingly sensitive to her gaze, keeps an eye on the feelings expressed on the mother’s face…., and uses this signal for evaluations of safety and danger in the nonmaternal environment.  But even more than this, at the point when he returns to the secure base the mother’s attention to the child’s emotionally expressive face intensifies.  With these facial cues the psychobiologically attuned mother is now able to appraise the child’s internal state, and on the basis of this she reengages in synchronized patterns of visuoaffective communication.  The toddler, in turn, attentively responds to the visual stimulation emanating from the mother’s emotionally expressive face.  These visuoaffective transactions that serve as episodes of ‘microregulation” are thus critical moments of reciprocal signaling that mediate emotional reconnection after separations[Is this part of where my trouble lies in not being able to read or to send accurate signals?] The dyad thus evolves into an operative practical system for processing high-intensity affective transmissions that rapidly maintains psychobiological attunement and sustains the attachment bond without the need for frequent and prolonged physical contact; these refueling transactions that cogenerate high levels of positive affect allow for exploration of the child’s expanding world.  (schore/ad/45)”

“In social referencing, an affectively charged dialogic process of the communication of “emotional vision”…, the mother induces a mood modification in the infant…, and is directly influencing the infant’s learning of “how to feel,” “how much to feel,” and “whether to feel” about particular objects in the larger environment.  (schore/ad/45)”

“With regard to the development of interest and curiosity, social referencing maternal attention-focusing strategies may also be essential to the caregiver’s enduring effect on the infant’s learning of “what to feel” about objects in the social environment, [and I would think also of other people] and “what to be interested in” among the objects in the physical environ- (schore/ad/45) ment…..12-month-olds … social referencing accounts for the maternal emotional biasing of infant reactions to novel inanimate objects….the child’s discovery of the physical environment is socially mediated….it is not the physical properties of the environment but the subjective meanings that count in the emotion process.  (schore/ad/46)”

“The visual-emotional communication of social referencing attachment transactions provides access to the mother’s appraisal of objects in the animate and inanimate world, and this influences the development of an internalized system in the infant that can evaluate the personal emotional meaning of any particular environmental event.  These critical period events may induce familiarization…or “topographic familiarity” and begin to generate “personally relevant” aspects of the individual’s world….  (schore/ad/46)”

“Emotions are currently understood to “arise in response to the meaning structures of given situations, to events that are important to the individual, and which importance he or she appraises in some way…, and they involve reactions to fundamental relational meanings that have adaptive significance….  In the current developmental literature, internal working models enable the individual to evaluate information relevant to attachment, and are unconsciously accessed to interpret and act on new experiences….(schore/ad/46)”

“These internal working models are first measured at the end of the first year, and reflect the fact that psychobiological attachment experiences are imprinted into the early developing brain. Indeed, stable attachment bonds are vitally important for the infant’s continuing neurobiological development…..Main, perhaps the most influential current attachment researcher, concludes that the “formation of an attachment to a specified individual signals a quantitative change in infant behavioral (and no doubt also brain) organization” (1991, p. 214; italics added)…..brain begins a critical period of structural growth at 10 to 12 months and are involved in attachment, evaluative functions, and the regulation of emotion….  (schore/ad/46)”

THE EXPERIENCE-DEPENDENT MATURATION OF AN EVALUATIVE SYSTEM IN THE FRONTOLIMBIC CORTEX OCCURS IN A CRITICAL PERIOD OF INFANCY

++  prefrontal cortex undergoes “a major maturational change at 10 to 12 months

++ the orbital “(as opposed to the later maturing nonlimbic dorsolateral) prefrontal cortex” …is critically and directly involved in attachment functions…, appraisal proceses [sic]…, and directed attention….  This region (along with the anterior temporal area) is a central component of the paralimbic cortex whose structure surrounds the more medial and basal areas of the limbic forebrain and whose function involves the processing of social signals necessary for the initiation of social interactions….  Furthermore, this frontolimbic structure, which contains neurons that specifically respond to the emotional expressions of faces…, is part of a system that has evolved for the rapid and reliable identification of individuals from their faces, because of the importance of this in social behavior” (Rolls, 1986).  (Schore/ad/47)”

“The orbitoinsular frontal cortex is “hidden” in the ventral and medial surfaces of the prefrontal lobe.  Due to its location at the interface of cortex and subcortex)…, it acts as a “convergence zone,” and is one of the few brain regions that is “privy to signals about virtually any activity taking place in our beings’ mind or body at any given time” (Damasio, 1994, p. 181).  In addition to receiving input from all sensory association areas of the posterior cortex (including projections from the face and head region of the somatosensory cortex and from the inferior temporal regions related to central vision), as well as outputs to motor areas in the anterior cortex and ventral striatum, it uniquely projects extensive pathways to limbic areas in the temporal pole and the central nucleus of the amygdala, to glutamate receptors of mesocorticolimbic dopamine neurons in ventral tegmental areas of the anterior reticular formation, and to subcortical drive centers in the paraventricular hypothalamus (Schore/ad/47)  that are associated with the sympathetic branch of the autonomic nervous system.  This excitatory limbic circuit, what Nauta and Domesick (1982) termed the ventral tegmental limbic forebrain-midbrain circuit, is involved with the generation of positively valenced states associated with motivational reward and approach behavior.  Orbitofrontal regions also send axons onto subcortical targets in parasympathetic autonomic areas of the hypothalamus, and to noradrenergic neurons in the medulla and the vagal complex in the brain stem caudal reticular formation, thereby completing the organization of another limbic circuit, the lateral tegmental limbic forebrain-midbrain circuit that activates the onset of an inhibitory, negatively valenced state associated with avoidance.  (Schore/ad/49)”

“The orbital prefrontal system is so intimately interconnected into limbic areas that it has been conceived of as an “association cortex”… for the limbic forebrain….  Indeed, it sits at the apex of the limbic system, the brain system responsible for the rewarding-excitatory and aversive-inhibitory aspects of emotion.  This frontolimbic cortex acts as a major center of central nervous system (CNS) hierarchical control over the energy-expending sympathetic and energy-conserving parasympathetic branches of the autonomic nervous system (ANS), and due to its autonomic connections, it plays an important cortical role in the feedback from bodily systems and in the reception of what Damasio (1994) called “somatic markers.”  (Schore/ad/49)”

“The orbitofrontal system is involved in, according to Luria, “the regulation of the body state and reflect changes taking place in that state” (1980, p/ 262).  At the orbitofrontal level, cortically processed information concerning the external environment (such as visual and auditory stimuli emanating from the emotional face of the object) is integrated with subcortically processed information regarding the internal visceral environment (such as concurrent changes in the emotional or bodily self state), thereby enabling incoming information to be associated with motivational and emotional states….  This far frontolimbic attentional system determines the “regulatory significance” of stimuli that reach the organism…., and in such manner, “forebrain circuits concerned with the recognition and interpretation of life experiences are capable of influencing virtually all, if not all, regulatory mechanisms in the body” (Wold, 1995, p. 90).  (Schore/ad/50)”

“The orbital prefrontal region is especially expanded in the right cortex…, and it comes to act in the capacity of an “executive control system” … for the entire right cortex, the “visuospatial” hemisphere that is centrally involved in selective attention to facial expressions…, appraisal…, and unconscious processes (Schore, ad.50)….  The right cortex is dominant for evaluating emotional expressions…, perceiving briefly presented emotionally expressive faces…, and eliciting autonomic responses after subliminal presentations of facial expressions…..  These operations define the implicit perception of affective information…, and they reflect the specialization of this hemisphere not only for detecting stimuli faster than the left…, globally directed attention…, processing novel information…, and holistic analysis…, but also for processing the autonomic correlates of emotional arousal…. Rapid unconscious appraisals on the basis of the optic stimulus array are a necessary and sufficient condition of emotion….  Extensive direct corticolimbic connections of the right hemispheric “ventral pathway,” which includes orbitofrontal and anterior temporal components, are responsible for its function in enabling a heightened autonomic response and an immediate, powerful affective reaction to particular stimuli.  (Schore/ad/51)”

Automatic emotional processes are a central element of nonverbal communication between humans, and their appraisal is essential to interpersonal functioning.  In light of the fact that emotions can be facially expressed in as little as one-half second…, an accurate perception of a facial stimulus must be rapidly evaluated in terms of its significance to the particular individual.  Ohman (1986) described a very quick, involuntary, unconscious and holistic “preattentive stimulus analysis” of an emotionally expressive face; Broadbent (Schore/ad/51) (1977) refered [sic] to a “hidden preattentive process” of analysis of incoming emotional stimuli, and Zajonc (1984) described an early, fast evaluation which computes the affective significance of an external stimulus.  It is established that evaluative learning occurs without awareness…, and that emotional stimuli…and the recognition of faces…are processed unconsciously.  (Schore/ad/52)”

“Socioaffective stimuli, especially patterns of change in visual and auditory stimuli emanating from an emotionally expressive face, are processed in the right posterior occipitoparietal…and right parietotemporal…association cortices, respectively.  The final steps in the discrimination of an incoming stimulus pattern takes place in multimodal or paralimbic association areas in the temporal and frontal cortices which register the motivational significance of the stimulus.  In this manner the paralimbic system, via its role in visceroautonomic processing and valuation…, performs a “valence tagging” function, in which perceptions receive an affective charge of a positive (pleasurably toned, idealized, good) or negative (unpleasurable, dysphoric, bad) hedonic quality.  LeDooux (1989) referred to the “core of the emotional system” that computes the affective significance of environmental stimuli, and Tucker (1992) spoke of frontal networks of the “paralimbic core” that function in the evaluation of information in terms of its motivational significance.  (Schore/ad/52)”

“…the infant’s “biologically organized affective core” becomes biased with tendencies toward certain emotional responses, depending on early experiences in the caregiving relationship….  Emotion biases in personality, which first appear in the second year of life, may be due to the fact that certain neurophysiological and neuroanatomical emotive circuits become more readily activated than others….  Ultimately, the affective corebiases the infant’s evaluation of a new situation and his interactive patterns even before the information arising from the situation has been processed”….  (Schore/ad/52)”

“These experiences may permanently influence the types of information channels and the specific patterns of input used by a particular personality organization to receive and recognize idiosyncratically meaningful socioaffective signals that trigger particular motivational systems.  (Schore/ad/52)”

“The early interactional events that provide for the experience-dependent maturation of the orbital cortex thus permanently influence the unique manner by which this system augments and enhances sensitivities as to what to do in a particular environmental context….  It has been noted that “With progressively higher organizational levels in evaluative mechanisms, there appears to be a general expansion in the range and relational complexity of contextual controls and in the breadth and flexibility of adaptive response”…..  (Schore/ad/52)”

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next part is moved to mental representations

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