Love and trust develop in our infancy

A person's ability to love, trust and resolve conflicts with others is something that begins developing as early as infancy. This is the suggestion of new research appearing in Current Directions in Psychological Science - a journal published by the Association for Psychological Science - which found early interpersonal bonding can have a profound effect on relationships later in life.

Jeffry Simpson, Psychologist at the University of Minnesota and colleagues found a person's experiences with his or her mother in the first 12 to 18 months of life can predict the behaviour they will show in romantic situations 20 years down the line.

Mr Simpson noted: "Before you can remember, before you have language to describe it and in ways you aren't aware of, implicit attitudes get encoded into the mind."

The authors explained an infant who was mistreated may grow to become a defensive arguer, while those who had attentive mothers tend to work through their problems.

Dr Jane McCartney, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Generally a child will develop their template for their future concept of love and trust in relationships within the first 18 to 24 months of life. 

"Whether a child's primary care giver can respond appropriately and adequately to a child's emotional, security and physical demands will give a child a kind of blue-print on which to judge subsequent relationships. 

"If a child grows up and develops in a relationship where their needs are being met, they will go on to have the expectation, with a few modifications as they get older obviously, that they will have their needs met in the future and importantly they too are in a position to meet the needs and demands of others."