London: She holds a special place in your
heart. Now, two new studies suggest that your mother also has a unique effect on your brain.
A Canadian study found that glimpse of a mother`s face
excites a person`s brain cells, while an American study showed
that mother`s hug or a phone call calms frayed nerves.
In the Canadian study, researchers at University of
Toronto measured the brain activity of volunteers while they
were shown photographs of their parents, strangers and
It was found that images of a person`s mother "lit up"
areas key to recognition and emotion, while fathers produced a
lower response, followed by celebrities and, finally,
strangers, the Daily Mail reported.
Dr Marie Arsalidou, who led the research, said: "The
fact that this activation is even seen in adults who have
lived away from their parents for many years does suggest that
it is a long-term effect."
In the American study, researchers at the University of
Wisconsin-Madison found the sound of a mother`s voice calms
frayed nerves -- with a phone call as soothing as a hug.
It looked at the role of oxytocin, a hormone that is
known to play a role in the mother-baby bond.
For their study, the researchers made a group of seven
to 12-year-old girls to do a speech and solve a series of
maths problems in front of strangers, which made them
A third were then comforted in person by their mother, a
third spoke to their mother on the phone and the rest given a
film to watch.
Levels of oxytocin rose quickly in those who saw or
spoke to their mothers, and, to the scientists` surprise,
within an hour, the girls who phoned their mothers were just
as calm as those who were comforted in person.
Researcher Leslie Seltzer said,"It`s clear from these
results that a mother`s voice can have the same effect as a
hug, even if they`re not standing there."
The findings are appeared in the journal Brain and