Teens Tune Out Mom's Voice According To Science

In an unsurprising new study, researchers show that teens' brains begin responding less to the voice of their mothers, and more to external sources.

Katie Sue Webber
Katie Sue Webber
Mom to two sweet little boys. Helping moms is her passion.
Last updated
February 14, 2023

Neuroscientist Daniel Abrams of Stanford University recently found that children and teenagers’ brains respond differently to the voices of their mothers and unfamiliar voices. The study shows that in kids ages 7 to 12, certain parts of their brains respond more strongly to mom’s voice than to a voice of an unknown woman. In teenagers, however, the opposite is true. Thank you science for confirming what every mom already knew.

These same brain regions respond more strongly to voices of unfamiliar people than to their own mother’s voice. This shift from mother to other seems to happen between ages 13 and 14. This result may reflect that as kids grow up and expand their social connections beyond their family, their brains need to be attuned to this broader world.

Another researcher, Leslie Seltzer, showed in 2011 that "Voices can carry powerful signals. When stressed-out girls heard their moms’ voices on the phone, the girls’ stress hormones dropped. The same was not true for texts from their mothers."

This suggests that the brain changes to reflect new needs that come with time and experience.

Read more here (via Science News)

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