Researchers have discovered why babies’ cries affect their mothers differently than everyone else, including their fathers: Moms’ brains are hardwired to respond to their infants’ wails in certain ways. The sound of a baby crying activates areas in the mother’s brain that motivate her to move and to speak, researchers with the National Institutes of Health found. And, the scientists discovered, all mothers respond the same way regardless of culture.
The researchers studied 684 mothers from 11 countries. First they observed new mothers interacting with their 5-month-old babies in their homes for one hour. An analysis of the mothers’ responses showed that across cultures the women picked up their crying infants and talked to them far more often than they attempted to distract, feed, diaper, or show affection like kissing the child.
Then the scientists conducted MRI studies of another group of multicultural women, both new and experienced mothers, and found that an infant’s cries activated the same areas in all mothers’ brains. The researchers also found that the brains of women who are not mothers respond differently to the sounds of a crying baby. The study builds on former research that shows fathers’ neurological responses to their crying infants also differ from those of the mother.
Courtesy: WORLD News Service
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Publication date: November 20, 2017