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Anim Sci J. 2012 Jun;83(6):446-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1740-0929.2012.01014.x. Epub 2012 Apr 25.

Importance of mother-infant communication for social bond formation in mammals.

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  • 1Department of Animal Science and Biotechnology, Azabu University, Chuo-ku, Sagamihara, Japan.


Mother-infant bonding is a universal relationship of all mammalian species. Here, we describe the role of reciprocal communication between mother and infant in the formation of bonding for several mammalian species. Mother-infant bond formation is reinforced by various social cues or stimuli, including communicative signals, such as odor and vocalizations, or tactile stimuli. The mother also develops cross-modal sensory recognition of the infant, during bond formation. Many studies have indicated that the oxytocin neural system plays a pivotal role in bond formation by the mother; however, the underlying neural mechanisms for infants have not yet been clarified. The comparative understanding of cognitive functions of mother and infants may help us understand the biological significance of mother-infant communication in mammalian species.

© 2012 The Authors. Animal Science Journal © 2012 Japanese Society of Animal Science.

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