Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Arguments in the home linked with babies' brain functioning

Date:
March 25, 2013
Source:
Association for Psychological Science
Summary:
Being exposed to arguments between parents is associated with the way babies' brains process emotional tone of voice, according to a new study. Infants were found to respond to an angry tone of voice, even when they're asleep.

Being exposed to arguments between parents is associated with the way babies' brains process emotional tone of voice.
Credit: © nyul / Fotolia

Being exposed to arguments between parents is associated with the way babies' brains process emotional tone of voice, according to a new study to be published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.

Related Articles


The study, conducted by graduate student Alice Graham with her advisors Phil Fisher and Jennifer Pfeifer of the University of Oregon, found that infants respond to angry tone of voice, even when they're asleep.

Babies' brains are highly plastic, allowing them to develop in response to the environments and encounters they experience. But this plasticity comes with a certain degree of vulnerability -- research has shown that severe stress, such as maltreatment or institutionalization, can have a significant, negative impact on child development.

Graham and colleagues wondered what the impact of more moderate stressors might be.

"We were interested in whether a common source of early stress in children's lives -- conflict between parents -- is associated with how infants' brains function," says Graham.

Graham and colleagues decided to take advantage of recent developments in fMRI scanning with infants to answer this question.

Twenty infants, ranging in age from 6 to 12 months, came into the lab at their regular bedtime. While they were asleep in the scanner, the infants were presented with nonsense sentences spoken in very angry, mildly angry, happy, and neutral tones of voice by a male adult.

"Even during sleep, infants showed distinct patterns of brain activity depending on the emotional tone of voice we presented," says Graham.

The researchers found that infants from high conflict homes showed greater reactivity to very angry tone of voice in brain areas linked to stress and emotion regulation, such as the anterior cingulate cortex, caudate, thalamus, and hypothalamus.

Previous research with animals has shown that these brain areas play an important role in the impact of early life stress on development -- the results of this new study suggest that the same might be true for human infants.

According to Graham and colleagues, these findings show that babies are not oblivious to their parents' conflicts, and exposure to these conflicts may influence the way babies' brains process emotion and stress.

Support for this work was provided by the Center for Drug Abuse Prevention in the Child Welfare System (1-P30-DA023920); the Early Experience, Stress, and Neurobehavioral Development Center (1-P50-MH078105); a Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award (F31-10667639); and the Lewis Center for NeuroImaging at the University of Oregon.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Association for Psychological Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Association for Psychological Science. "Arguments in the home linked with babies' brain functioning." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325135359.htm>.
Association for Psychological Science. (2013, March 25). Arguments in the home linked with babies' brain functioning. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 26, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325135359.htm
Association for Psychological Science. "Arguments in the home linked with babies' brain functioning." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130325135359.htm (accessed November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins