The chemical changes in the brain that transform the learning process of infants have been pinpointed in a new American study.
Psychologist Gordon A. Barr of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and neuroscientist Regina M. Sullivan of the Nathan Kline Institute and New York University Langone Medical Center studied the mother-child behaviour in rats to draw parallels in humans.
The scientists say their findings can also be applied to infant behaviour in dogs, rats and people.
Barr said: "For humans.... the findings may shed light on the pathologically strong attachment that children are known to have even for abusive caretakers."
The conclusions of the study also suggest that scientists may detect neural mechanisms due to which other transitions such as a baby's switch from breastfeeding to eating solid food occurs, he added.
The study was published online on Sept. 27 in Nature Neuroscience.