A study has revealed that there is something very special about a mother’s voice.
According to a study published on 16 May, 2016 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Journal, kids brains respond to their mothers’ voices more strongly than they respond to strangers’ voices. This holds even when they only hear the voices for a fraction of a second.
In a statement, Daniel Abrams, the lead author of the study and an instructor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Stanford University explained, “We know that hearing [their] mother’s voice can be an important source of emotional comfort to children. Here, we’re showing the biological circuitry underlying that.”
In the research, the scientists scanned the brains of 24 healthy kids between ages 7 and 12. Each child listened to clips less than 1 second long of nonsense words spoken by their biological mom and 2 other women unknown to the child.
The findings revealed that the children could not only identify their mothers’ voices 97% of the time, but the sound of the mothers’ voices triggered parts of the brain associated with emotions, reward and facial recognition more than when the voices of the other two women were heard. While previous studies have shown that kids prefer their mother’s voices, with newborns being able to recognize her voice among the voices of other women, this recent study showed that mom’s voice affects parts of the brain beyond those involved in listening.
According to some of the researchers, this study could explain why children are able to recognize their mother’s voices so fast. Seeing that her voice activates parts of the brain associated with rewards, the brain is conditioned to recognize her voice faster so as to reap the rewards.
So there you have it. If you ever needed a reason to talk to your kids more, now you have it.