Apparently the maternal instinct is not all. The brains of men and women react differently to the cries of a baby, according to a study released today.
Research of the National Institute of Health (NIH), published in the latest issue of NeuroReport Journal, has found evidence that “on an emotional level, men and women respond differently to a crying baby,” said Marc H. Bornstein, coauthor of the study.
Researchers at the Institute of Health and Human Development of Children and Families Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) asked a group of men and women who take leave for their thoughts before put them to hear the sound of a baby crying. After hearing the cries, the brains of women rose sharply to be set to “alert”, while the men remained at “rest”.
Bornstein said the study not only helps to better understand the “connection” of the brain, but also the way in which the brain has developed. The researchers analyzed images of brain scans of 18 adults with and without children and found that the brains of women was more likely to “disengage” from its existing state, which indicates that they have turned their attention to the crying.
For men, the brain tended to remain in their existing state as they heard the baby crying. The study also found no difference between those with children and those without between both genders.
The researchers used different types of crying, including that of children who were later diagnosed with autism and several studies have found to have a higher pitch, to determine if adults react differently. In a previous study conducted by Bornstein with the same group, which used only the crying of children who were later diagnosed with Asperger syndrome, both women and men tended to change state when heard.
Bornstein, along with other researchers also conducted a study which concluded that there are changes in the pattern of brain activity of men and women when watching an image of a baby that indicated a “willingness” to identify with the child and ensure it.