Why a Mother's Voice "Awakens" Her Child's Brain - Step To Health

Why a Mother's Voice "Awakens" Her Child's Brain

A study has found that a mother's voice significantly stimulates her child's brain. This discover may be extremely helpful for treating psychological disorders in childhood such as autism.
Why a Mother's Voice "Awakens" Her Child's Brain

Last update: 04 April, 2019

“We can only have one mother” is a topic that has always been subject to debate. However, science is getting closer and closer to proving that this is true for the minds of children. Especially when we consider a mother’s voice.

Many media sources have republished a study conducted at the University of British Columbia. In this study, researchers found that a mother’s voice activates her child’s brain in a surprising way.

The main author of the study explains that when children hear their mother’s voice, this automatically activates a sequence of neural connections. This doesn’t occur with any other sound.

This doesn’t even occur when a woman with a mother-like tone pronounces the same word. This is because several areas of the brain are stimulated. These include the emotional and social regions of brain, as well as regions that control facial recognition.

Sound has the capacity to cause a wave of reactions.

Scans show that a mother’s voice awakens her child’s brain

la voz de la madre despierta el cerebro de su hijo

In the study,  researchers selected 24 children between the ages 7 and 12 who had shared a house with their mother their whole life. They also had normal IQ levels.

The procedure was simple. The children were scanned while listening to their mother and another woman articulating a series of meaningless words. The results could have not been more revealing.

The conductors of the experiment realized that when the mothers started talking, the same biological circuit was repeated in 97% of cases. This confirms that a mother’s voice awakens her child’s brain.

However, there are more consequences to consider. For instance, the director of the study says that this response translates into an improvement of children’s social skills.

The advantages that a mother’s voice offers to the brain and our emotions explain why a mother’s presence is so necessary during childhood.

A discovery for the future

Mother's voice--helping her daughter do her homework.

This study not only demonstrates the strong relationship that exists between mothers and children. In fact, it opens up a whole new field of research around the use of a mother’s voice in therapy for children with disorders such as autism.

As we know, those who have this disorder find it difficult to relate to other people and to themselves. People with autism are also obsessed with ordering things in a certain way and need to have their days programmed.

This is all because people with autism receive more stimuli than their brains can handle. Thus, if a mother’s voice awakens her child’s brain, recordings of her voice could be used to focus and relax those affected by autism.

This discovery could be an excellent starting point to experiment with treatments aimed at improving the intensity of the condition. This is because it has the advantage of acting on the origin and not just its symptoms.

The importance of attacking the origin

La importancia de atajar desde el origen.

For many years, medicine has had to be content with diagnosing and designing treatments purely based on symptoms.

Faculties fought against the health problems caused of autism, which became a labyrinthine to adjusting medication.

In recent decades, researchers and technology have made it easier to find where the difficulty starts.

The progress has undoubtedly been enormous. It exponentially multiplies the chances of successful treatment.

That’s why this discovery is so significant.

As we said, there’s an enormous amount of hope for therapy for psychological disorders that hinder children’s development from an early age.

It could even end drug treatments, and therefore their side effects, as well as occupational therapy.

Knowing that a mother’s voice awakens the connections in her child’s brain through an established synapse circuit encourages us to use these results in psychology.

At the same time, it drives us to continue gaining knowledge as to how our body works and why anomalies occur.

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  • Webb, A. R., Heller, H. T., Benson, C. B., & Lahav, A. (2015). Mother’s voice and heartbeat sounds elicit auditory plasticity in the human brain before full gestation. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 112(10), 3152-3157.