Developmental Context Effects:Bicultural Post-Trauma Self Repair in Chimpanzees

October 17, 2009 Bradshaw, G.A., Capaldo, T., Lindner, L., & Grow, G. (2009). Developmental Psychology, 45(5): 1376-1388. Science Papers

Longitudinal studies have shown how early developmental contexts contribute significantly to self-development; their influence extends through adulthood, informs sociality, and affects resilience under severe stress. While the importance of sociality in trauma recovery is recognized, the relationship between developmental and posttrauma contexts and recovery effects is less appreciated, particularly in cases in which recovery contexts differ widely from the culture of origin. Using an attachment-based model of bicultural (competence in two cultures) development, the authors examined the role of self in posttrauma repair of chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes) who had been differentially reared by humans during neuroethologically formative periods and subsequently used as biomedical subjects. Results show that variations in posttrauma schema correlate with early socialization patterns. Self-resilience supports, but also may constrain, recovery depending on the compatibility of internal self models with recovery resources. Trauma severity notwithstanding, the cultural context of origin emerges as a critical factor in designing effective therapeutic intervention and assessments in primates, humans inclusive. Finally, the results underscore the ethical implications for the practices of cross-fostering nonhuman primates and their use in research.