bruegel Icarus

Like a Bruegel painting (1525- 1569 depicting monumental events that most never see, Landscape with the Fall of Icarus,' is a prime example), the collected works of James W. Prescott, PhD, have gone mostly unrecognized for 50 years. The reason: his research and steady stream of observations cut to the core of the human condition.

Political appointees at the highest levels have done their best to erase his more fifteen years of brain-behavior research sponsored by the National institute of Health.

They could not stand the political fallout of his basic conclusions:

Pleasure Bonds – affectionate touch, the rush of positive hormonal states shared by mother and infant during breast feeding, the laughter, sensations and positive emotions experienced during original play shape the brain in ways that lead to empathy, nonviolent male-female equality, peaceful egalitarian relationships, societies and cultures. The absence of these positive sensations and emotional affects shape the brain and its behavior in ways the lead to exploitive male-female relationships, violent individuals, societies and cultures.

One of Touch the Future’s major accomplishments has been to gather Jim’s lifetime research, interviews and publications and compile them into a comprehensive DVD:

jwp_dvd_cover The Origins of Love and Violence
Sensory Deprivation and the Developing Brain
Research and Prevention

For a summary of this unique and pioneering research see:

The field of neuroscience is small. All the major players know each other and have for many years. I was introduced to and interviewed Jaak Panksepp, author of Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions and internationally recognized as one of the leaders in researching animal and human emotions last year by Stuart Brown, MD, founder of the National Institute for Play, at a symposium sponsored by Stuart at Stanford University. (Stuart and I are currently working on a DVD summary of this revolutionary gathering - the brain science behind the positive affective states experienced through authentic play.)

Small world! Jim Prescott and Jakk Panksepp have been colleagues for many years. I am nothing short of thrilled to announce that Jim has been invited by Jaak and Darcia Narvaez to present his research and its implications (summarized in our DVD) at their upcoming symposium on positive emotional states at Notre Dame University this October.

Dr. Prescott,
Thank you for the update. Most especially thanks for the notes, links, and for the suggestions for the meeting. I'd like to convey a couple of things.

First, you were the inspiration for my entering the study of early childhood and its effects on moral development. Several years ago I discovered your work online. What a treasure trove!

We are just getting some preliminary data on several studies based on the anthropological identification of the EEA for young children (touch, breastfeeding, responsivity, multiple adult caregivers, free play with multiple ages). Here are a couple of findings:

*Three year olds' empathy and self regulation are predicted by maternal touch and also by breastfeeding (at all) in the USA and China.

*Maternal responsivity, measured various ways, at 4 months predicts empathy and self control at 24 and 36 months.

No surprises here for you, but many people seem to have to be hit over the head with data to believe these things.

Second, I'd like to extend an invitation to you to join us for the symposium. It would be a terrible shame if you, one of the foremost pioneers in this area, were not with us.
You might be interested in making some comments at the symposium, perhaps at the beginning or the end? Showing the video might be part of that.

Thank you for your graciousness and your passion.


Jim is an active contributor to our new Forum. Take a look and sign up to follow his posts.

With appreciation – and congratulations Jim.

Michael Mendizza