horizon the "truth about personality"

(30 Posts)
MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 00:12:01

Did anyone watch this? It's on Iplayer. It discusses the way our genes change and how some people can become pessimists etc. Quite a lot was made of a rat study where less maternal rats didn't lick their baby rats enough so those baby rats don't respond to stress well. Fair enough. I don't know if dad rats tend to stay in the picture or not, however they then said based on that study they were following depressed people and their interaction with their mothers. No mention whatsoever of dads and how they might affect a fmaily.

Human dads aren't rat dads right? There influence should matter shouldnt it? We aren't totally responsible for fuckin up our children alone?Majority of DV is husbands against their wives..does that not affect children.

I admit totally I'm not in any way scientific so maybe I am missing something huge and this is actually very good science. I just found it really problematic and just more shit to hit women with

pictish Sat 13-Jul-13 00:19:13

Very interesting....I didn't see it but now wish I had. I'll never get around to watching it on iplayer.

I don't think there's any getting away from the fact that women (mothers) are biologically designed to look after the babies. The job falls to us because we have the equipment. If we fail to meet those basics of food and comfort, then babies don't thrive well.

Isn't that what it's getting at?

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 13-Jul-13 00:49:02

Animal experiments are based on animal behaviour. The subjects in this case were baby rats. It was designed to ascertain the impact of caregiving or lackthereof to the neonatal. It showed the results.

Male rats do not care for young and therefore were unnecessary in this experiment. It wasn't about male or female. It was about the impact of early care on the offspring.

momnipotent Sat 13-Jul-13 00:54:49

This sounds very interesting, I will have to try and remember to watch it.

I do think that we can't escape the fact that we are animals and there are very few male animals that are involved in baby animal care. I can think of penguins that sit on the egg. Seahorses? Maybe a few others? But for the most part I think the male is gone before the baby arrives. It doesn't excuse bad male human behaviour because we have evolved past the stage where we rely solely on instinct, but I think that we should never forget the biology.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 00:55:14

Yes but they then used those results to follow maternal care/depression rates in humans. Can that work when you base one study on animals that are female raised opposed to humans who raised by a mother and a father?

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 01:01:46

IN other words they could talk to me about my depression I've suffered my whole life and I would tell them my mother had been abusive and negligent. That's all true.

But to ignor the fact that I was terroised by my father who regularly beat the crap out of me and abused hs wife....is to miss quite a big part of the picture!

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 13-Jul-13 01:11:38

They were not observing the impact of the mother on the neonatal, they were observing the impact of the quality of care from the primary care giver. Had this experiment been about seahorses, it would have been the father.

It was not about mother or father, but the results for the offspring.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 01:16:56

Is that from the study Dione? I'm just repeating what was said on the show, that were studying the brains of depressed people and their relationships with their mothers. HUmans do have two parents so it struck me as relevant that they weren't studying the impact of both.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 01:17:42

im not questioning the study as performed on rats but how it was later used as a base for humans. While still following maternal care and parental care

Rummikub Sat 13-Jul-13 01:18:49

I think it's about having a caring nurturing parent, male or female. Sorry to read that you didn't have this early care from either parent. It must have been very difficult for you growing up and you're still having to deal with the results.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 01:25:33

Thanks rummikub, I'm mostly OK now (I think lol) grin

If dione knows about this specific study and that it was on neonatal units then that might be why I'm confused. As it wasn't explained on the show. I got the impression that the maternal care section of the study was actually based on how people described their mother's care (as adults) so maybe they were observing newborns and I misunderstood?

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 13-Jul-13 01:26:50

Studies on humans look at the role of primary care in neonates. That care is usually provided (even in humans wink) by the birth mother, but can come from the father, grandparents or a non-birth parent. In these rats, it's was the birth mother.

This experiment was primarily focussed on outcomes for the neonate, based on it's first caregiver.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 01:42:10

Dionne did you see the program?

www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b036ypxw/Horizon_20122013_The_Truth_About_Personality/

start at about 46 minutes.

Ive just rewatched the relevant section to see if I misunderstood but I was right (at least about the study he referred to)

He checked the brains (of now dead adults) who had reported suffering from severe anxiety. He then checked there notes and compared it to the way they had verbally described their maternal care.

So not exactly observing them as infants (this is what they remember, so childhood at least)

they then make no comment on whether or nor they considered father input.

garlicsmutty Sat 13-Jul-13 01:55:49

I do think that we can't escape the fact that we are animals and there are very few male animals that are involved in baby animal care.

I know this isn't strictly the thread topic - and I will watch the programme; thanks for letting me know about it - but I'm fed up of hearing this because it isn't true.

The only species that's sprung to mind at this late hour is the clownfish. The male plays a very big part in rearing the young and, if the dominant female dies, the dominant male turns into a female! So Nemo's Dad would actually have become Nemo's Mum when they were reunited. There's dedication to one's young wink

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 01:58:37

I don't see F4J trying offering to do that anytime soon garlic grin

garlicsmutty Sat 13-Jul-13 02:09:06

Now that would get them headlines grin

DioneTheDiabolist Sat 13-Jul-13 02:14:20

But OP, you were not talking about the later part of the programme. You posted about the results of neonatal/maternal care on rats.

When it comes to humans, studies are very nuanced, because we and our circumstances are nuanced. You say that while you consider your neonatal care to have impacted your life, you also accept that other factors (in particular the role played by your father) has had a long term impact on your life.

This experiment looked at the impact of primary care on the neonate rat. This is a relatively simple experiment that explores the effect of early attachment. The results are borne out in human studies regarding early care and attachment. The effects of secondary attachments have and continue to be explored and they are by no means insignificant.

But the experiment on rats is about primary care provided (in rats), by rat mothers. It gives us a useful, but not comprehensive view, of the impact of neonatal care on future outcomes for the offspring.

That is not to discount the impact of other factors in the development of humans. In fact there are many studies detailing the impact of fathers/secondary care givers (be it loving, ambivalent, abusive, negligent or non-existent) on
human children.

It's just not what this documentary was about.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sat 13-Jul-13 02:51:10

Reread my op again dione,

CaptChaos Sat 13-Jul-13 07:21:42

The thing that slightly worries me about this is that it could be used as a return to the 'refrigerator mother' scenario, where it becomes the mother's 'fault' if their child becomes 'x', this theory is still doing the rounds with regard to ASD.

It could also lead to a popular myth that mothers with PND will 'cause' their children to have depression later in life, as mothers are the primary caregivers and the father has no role in negating the effects of PND apparently. It's not really the scientists view that worries me, it's what non scientists and talking heads will turn this study into.

It's also the total belief (if hump's summary of the second part of the programme is correct) that it is SOLELY the mother's care which influences future anxiety, while the father's care isn't even looked at.

This is not just yet another misogyny stick to beat mothers with, but it could also be seen to be telling fathers that it doesn't matter if they are present or not, as nothing they do/don't do will affect future outcomes.

Whatever new/other studies have shown, people with an agenda will use the studies shown in this programme to make up their minds about how well/badly mothers are looking after their children.

kim147 Sat 13-Jul-13 07:24:52

I saw that programme and thought the same thing - no mention of the father at all.

What I thought was also interesting was the role of epigenetics - how your genes can change their expression with the environment and the main point which was altering your perspective on life.

I know I need that - trying to get rid of negative thoughts about yourself by training your brain to recognise the positives in life.

ChunkyPickle Sun 14-Jul-13 07:44:41

But for example, in our case, yes I BF ds - but if he wasn't in his bouncer, either his dad or I was carrying him while he was a little baby. Once he was moving and heavier, his dad actually did the majority of the carrying when out and about (no buggy), and he's always done most of the bathing. DS slept in between us, so again, outside of feeding he was as likely to be snuggled up to DP as to me.

So yes, I would be down as the primary caregiver, but when it comes to skin to skin affection DS has been well provided for by both parents. If they only measured what I did, they'd only have half the picture vs. a child raised by a father who wasn't so hands on - less than half in fact because they'd be counting DS as having less contact with me than with a mother who did everything I did, plus everything DP did.

That's why I don't think a human study should solely look at the primary caregiver (and certainly not the mother by default), as the OP says.

NiceTabard Sun 14-Jul-13 13:27:08

The mother rat will share a bunch of genes with its babies.

Maybe the same bunch of genes that make you rubbish at licking your babies also make you bad at dealing with stress. Did they correct for that in some way or consider it?

Also there are loads of animals where males and females are around with children - pack animals and ones that live in groups so lots of mammals.

Also agree that looking at one parent only when two are involved is shortsighted.

Didn't see prog though.

LeBFG Sun 14-Jul-13 13:35:15

Scientists would find out all the nuances as to what causes depression if they could Chunky. As it is, they've looked at one important factor, the primary child-giver.

I totally agree with you kim - this is a really important point about how brains change in response to the environment. When I get into biological determinism vs blank slate style arguments I always try to argue that the division (nature/nuture) is so not relevant anymore. Some of us might be more prone to depression, for example, but we can avert it or even reverse it given the right environmental stimuli.

MyHumpsMyLovelyBabyBumps Sun 14-Jul-13 16:02:44

I totally accept that there may be additional tests and experiments that account for and prove what they are trying to prove. But the experiment they spoke about seemed like bad or lazy science and was just very quick to lay the blame at mothers. Talking heads and these sort of shows don't give the whole picture but do contribute to the idea that women are responsible for everything that goes wrong in the world.

grimbletart Sun 14-Jul-13 17:47:09

The bit that I found missing was about discordant identical twins. One pair they looked at where only one had suffered from bouts of clinical depression. They swiftly left that and went on to the rat stuff and rat mothering and the epigenetics where they talked about genes being altered by early experiences and then passed on through the germ line.

Nowhere - unless I missed it - was there any attempt to explore why one of the discordant twins only had suffered depression. If the rat example and the early mothering and potential for altering genes was relevant, why was there no exploration of the early mothering and influences on these human twins (who, as far as we know had the same parental influence as each other)?

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