Kids’ Brains Do Wild Things When They Hear Mom’s Voice


There's nothing like the mind-altering power of ... your mom? According to a study published Monday from the Stanford University School of Medicine, a mother's voice has a powerful effect on a child's brain when compared to the voice of a stranger.

The researchers found that children could recognize their mother's voice from clips that were "less than a second long" more than 97% of the time.

And when children in the study heard their moms saying nonsense words, their brains showed greater activity — including in the parts of the brain that "handle emotions," "detect and assign value to rewarding stimuli" and "process information about the self" — compared to when they heard other voices.

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"We know that hearing mother's voice can be an important source of emotional comfort to children," the study's lead author Daniel Abrams, Ph.D., said. "Here, we're showing the biological circuitry underlying that."

But the study only looked at children between the ages of 7 and 12 — so the question remains, does hearing mom's voice have the same mind-stimulating effect on young adults? 

The researchers announced that they are looking into "whether the brain responses change as people mature into adulthood." So it's possible that by dodging your mom's calls, you're missing out on an opportunity for brain activation. Don't you feel guilty now?