Contemporary Attachment Theory: Epigenetics, Right Brain, and Regulation
An interdisciplinary move toward consilience, along with advances in developmental, neurobiological, and epigenetic research, has expanded Bowlby’s fundamental ideas into increasingly complex, refinements of contemporary attachment theory, that include findings from epigenetics, and brain, especially right brain, development while illuminating auto regulatory functions.
Epigenetics. Contemporary attachment theorists now view the organization of brain systems as an outcome of the interaction between environmental influence and genetically coded programs for the formation of structures and connections among structures (Fox & Calkins, 2003). That is to say that the environment literally effects structural, and thus functional, growth by inducing the expression of genes responsible for the unfolding of those structures and their collective interconnections. As Schore (1997) so eloquently explains:
The onset and offset of sensitive periods, “unique windows of organism–environment interaction,” are now attributed to the activation and expression of families of programed genes which synchronously turn on and off during infancy, thereby controlling the transient enhanced expression of enzymes of biosynthetic pathways which allow for growth in particular brain regions. In light of the established principles that early postnatal development represents an experiential shaping of genetic potential, a new