How Much More Devoted Is Your Mother To Her Grandchildren?

Nikki Attkisson | Last Updated : November 22, 2021

Is there anything special about the relationship between your mother and your children? I’m referring to the one she doesn’t seem to have with anybody else, including you.

Research shows that you aren’t deluding yourself, according to the findings. Psychiatrist and anthropologist James Rilling of Emory University in Atlanta says that people depend on one another to raise their children.

How Much More Devoted Is Your Mother To Her Grandchildren?

These youngsters frequently perform better when other adults, such as their grandmothers, are engaged in their lives. Rilling is the principal author of the research. In this study, the importance of grandmothers may be traced back to the brain, according to the results.

In the study, researchers found that when grandmothers were shown images of their biological grandchildren, they exhibited an emotional and motivational response in the areas of their brains that are critical for emotional empathy and motivation.

How Much More Devoted Is Your Mother To Her Grandchildren?

The study, which was published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal and included around 50 grandparents, took place. The grandparents spoke about how close they were to their grandkids and how involved they were in their lives.

Images of their grandchildren, a kid they didn’t recognize, an adult they didn’t recognize, and their grandchild’s same-sex father were shown to the women during functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which detects changes in blood flow that occur when the brain is active. In some cases, it might be their own biological child, while it could be a family member in others.

The findings of this study support the hypothesis that people who raise children as part of a “village” undergo significant changes in their brains. According to Jodi Pawluski, a neuroscientist and therapist living in France who was not involved in this study, the brains of the baby’s father and mother alter as well. The best of luck to you! Researchers have previously studied how mothers’ and dads’ brains operate, but this is the first study, according to Rilling, to look at how the brain of a grandmother reacts to her grandchildren.

According to Rilling, who detailed the results in an email, the “grandmother hypothesis,” which maintains that women’s post-menopausal longevity evolved as a consequence of the benefits their grandparents could bring to their grandchildren, was a primary motivation for the study.

Anthropologist Sarah B. Hrdy, an ex-professor of anthropology at the University of California, Davis, who was not involved in the research, says that the results are preliminary because of the study’s novelty and the fact that brain-scan findings are still in their infancy. In light of the study’s novelty and the fact that brain-scan findings have just begun, she cautioned, “The results are preliminary.”

Results like this aren’t exactly shocking: Grandmothers’ emotional reactions were shown to be greater when they were looking at their own grandchildren than when they were looking at children they had never met before. Brain activity linked with cognitive empathy was higher in grandmothers when looking at biological children and in-laws than at their grandkids. They showed higher emotional empathy while looking at their grandchildren than when they gazed at their children.

Nikki Attkisson

With over 15 years as a practicing journalist, Nikki Attkisson found herself at Powdersville Post now after working at several other publications. She is an award-winning journalist with an entrepreneurial spirit and worked as a journalist covering technology, innovation, environmental issues, politics, health etc. Nikki Attkisson has also worked on product development, content strategy, and editorial management for numerous media companies. She began her career at local news stations and worked as a reporter in national newspapers.

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