Biological determinants of maternal behavior



The article deals with the problem of the biological foundations of maternal behavior in foreign psychology. Two sources that activate parental behavior are considered: hormonal processes occurring in the mother's body and stimulation from the child. Both classical and contemporary studies of maternal behavior in response to the infant's innate activity repertoire are presented; risks for establishing interaction in a dyad; basic neurobiological mechanisms of “bonding” in the postpartum period. Modern trends in the study of the role of early contact not only of the mother, but also of the father with the fetus before birth are shown, in order to establish the interaction and attachment of parents to the child after birth. The programs of early intervention aimed at supporting the biological determinants of parental behavior are considered: the formation of a positive attitude towards the child, the prevention of risks of violation of the psychological health of parents in connection with the birth of a child.

General Information

Keywords: biological determinants of maternal behavior; stimulation by the child; postnatal contact between mother and newborn; bonding phenomenon; dyad interaction, risk factors, early intervention; born repertoire of baby activity

Journal rubric: Developmental Psychology

Article type: review article


For citation: Avdeeva N.N. Biological determinants of maternal behavior [Elektronnyi resurs]. Sovremennaia zarubezhnaia psikhologiia = Journal of Modern Foreign Psychology, 2022. Vol. 11, no. 1, pp. 7–16. DOI: 10.17759/jmfp.2022110101. (In Russ., аbstr. in Engl.)


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Information About the Authors

Natalia N. Avdeeva, PhD in Psychology, Professor at chair of Developmental Psychology Name after L.F. Obukhova, Moscow State University of Psychology and Education, Moscow, Russia, ORCID:, e-mail:



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