During childhood, the brain places the mother’s voice in a privileged position, but once adolescence hits, around 13, it’s the other way around. In other words, the teen’s brain will pay less attention to the mother’s voice than all other sounds, according to a study published in Neuroscience Journal.
This may seem obvious to parents who live with teens, even if they are hilarious. But this study, conducted by neuroscientists at Stanford Medical University, conducted experiments that prove this phenomenon at the neurological level.
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From childhood to adolescence: How does the brain adapt?
The survival of children, like children, is highly dependent on the care of the mother. Previous experiments by the same team of neuroscientists have already shown that babies’ brains react to the mother’s voice faster than anyone else. In particular, areas of the brain related to reward and attention showed increased activity. On the other side, » In adolescence we show the exact opposite Daniel Abrams, a Stanford researcher and lead author of the study, told ScienceNews.
Besides physical, psychological and social transformations, the adolescent brain will also undergo a 360-degree change. Neuroscientists suggest that teens will not only be less attentive to the mother’s voice, but the voice they hear will be less than other female voices.
This shift is related and explained by the formation of the social structure as children grow. The child’s social circle consists mainly of parents and primary caregivers. But gradually, his social circle begins to grow and the young man is looking for new experiences. In short, his survival has ceased to depend on the support of the mother, and as he seeks independence, he becomes more dependent on group affiliations. So the brain will follow the same guideline in its development. “What we see here is just a reflection of this phenomenon.” Adds researcher Daniel Abrams.
Low maternal concern during adolescence: a neurobiological signature
The neuroscientists’ experiment involved recording the mothers’ voices of a group of children between the ages of 7 and 16, who were saying meaningless words in an attempt to simplify the experiment on the sound of sound. Then the researchers scanned the brains of the group of children and adolescents when they heard the mother’s voice and the voices of unfamiliar women.
For both groups, it was brain regions related to the reward system and social evaluation in the nucleus accumbens and ventromedial prefrontal cortex that activate when hearing different sounds. However, in 7- to 12-year-olds, brain activity increased when the mother’s voice sounded in 7- to 12-year-olds, while for 13- to 16-year-olds, it was the non-familial voice that It produces increased activity. « This does not mean that these adolescent brain regions stop responding to their mothers. » Researcher Daniel Abrams says:. « It’s just that anonymous voices become more rewarding and deserving of attention » He indicates.
So the next time you see a reluctant teen with a family voice, you’ll know there’s a nervous explanation and it’s a natural adaptation. However, the scientists who conducted this study point out that they do not yet know whether this development is global. In fact, the type of mother-child relationship or parenting style can have an impact on this neural adaptation.
For now, the scientists want to apply their findings to models that can help teens with autism or with obvious social difficulties.
Originally Posted 04/05/2021