A Moment of Science

How Parenting Affects the Brain

On this Moment of Science, we discuss how parenting affects the brain.

If you’re one of those parents that constantly worries about their kids, you’re not alone. In fact, a study out of Yale University suggested that having a child may actually affect your brain function.

In the study, researchers monitored parents’ brain activity when they heard their child crying, or saw their child’s picture. Interestingly, it turned out that some of the brain areas that were activated are the same as the brain areas that are overactive in patients with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Of course, it’s only normal to worry about your baby. The study suggests that obsessive-compulsive disorder may happen when the same parts of the brain that help us be good parents become overactive.

The study is also part of a growing body of research about the physiological changes that happen to people once they become parents. The question is whether people are, in some sense, pre-programmed for their roles as parents.

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