Kids’ Brains Light Up When They Hear Their Mom’s Voice


mother and baby

A new study has found that the mother’s voice has more of an effect than just that of soothing a distressed baby.

According to researchers from the Stanford University School of Medicine, the brains of little kids simply light up in a lot of different areas when they hear their mother’s voice.

The regions that seem to react to the voice of a mother are involved in emotions, reward processing, facial recognition, and detection of something that is subjectively relevant. But it was most surprising to see that this explosive neurological reaction was reserved for the mother’s voice alone.

Scientists discovered that the children’s brain regions are a lot more receptive to the voice of their mothers than by the voices of other women – even when they were mothers as well.

Co-author of the study Daniel Abrams, an instructor in behavioral sciences at the university, explained that human babies learn most of their language, emotional, and social processes by listening to their mothers.

But even though we know this much, researchers were incapable of understanding how the brain alters itself to respond so specifically to different sound sources.

After conducting this new study, Abrams said the team was surprised to see the impact of a mother’s voice over the brain of her child; it seemed to have a quicker access to different brain regions than any other voice.

But the science behind this preference had not been identified prior to this study. “Nobody had really looked at the brain circuits that might be engaged,” said leading author, Prof. Vinod Menon.

For the research, 24 kids were examined, ages 7 to 12 years old. All of the kids in the study were raised by their biological moms, had IQs over 80 and no developmental disorders.

Kids recognized the voice of their mothers when it was played back to them; their response was recorded through the use of MRIs. Researchers concluded they were able to identify the sound of their mom’s voice with a surprising accuracy: more than 97 percent.

This study is important because it can set the foundation for further investigating in kids with autism. It could help scientists understand a bit more about what goes on in the brain of a kid living with autism.
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