Teenagers aren’t ignoring their mothers but their brains tune them out shows new brain study

Teenagers aren't ignoring their mothers but their brains tune them out shows new brain study

Teenagers aren’t ignoring their mothers but their brains tune them out shows new neuroscience study.

A new study published in the Journal of Neuroscience on 28, April, entitled “A neurodevelopmental shift in reward circuitry from mother’s to nonfamilial voices in adolescence” has shown that teenagers don’t ignore their mothers on purpose, instead their brain tunes out their mothers’ voices.

The abstract of the study claims that children aged 7-16 process their mother’s voice differently to other nonfamilial voices: “Using functional brain imaging of human voice processing in children and adolescents (ages 7-16), we demonstrate distinct neural signatures for mother’s voice and nonfamilial voices across child and adolescent development in reward and social valuation systems, instantiated in nucleus accumbens and ventromedial prefrontal cortex. While younger children showed increased activity in these brain systems for mother’s voice compared to nonfamilial voices, older adolescents showed the opposite effect with increased activity for nonfamilial compared to mother’s voice”

“Most parents can tell you how their teenagers begin to focus their attention on peers and new social partners,” stated Abrams, one of the authors of the study, a Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, in California, as reported by Health Day.

“What’s new here is this understanding of what’s happening in the brain,” he stated. Meaning that if a teenager is ignoring you, according to Abrams “it’s not personal. This is a natural part of development.”

Abrams went on to speak about the importance of the human voice in general, stating: “Just think about any time you’ve become emotional from hearing the voice of a loved one you haven’t spoken to in a while, it’s different from a text message.”

“Voices are among the most important social signals we have,” he stated. “They connect us, and help us feel we’re part of a community. And I would argue that hearing a loved one’s voice is one of the most rewarding experiences we have in our daily lives.”


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Written by

Joshua Manning

Originally from the UK, Joshua is based on the Costa Blanca and is a web reporter for the Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at [email protected]

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