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Growing up, why do kids stop listening to their moms? Maybe science can tell us why!

A recent study reveals that when children reach their adolescent years, they lose connection with their mother’s voice and become less in tune with it. Children tend to listen in to more unknown sounds as they become older, which is proof of their responsiveness to varied social cues.

The study, published in the Journal of Neuroscience, was undertaken by Stanford School of Medicine researchers who compiled MRI brain scans. They demonstrated the first neurobiological explanation for how adolescent years perceive a child’s separation from their parents. As children reach the age of 13, they begin to find their mother’s voice less appealing.

‘Just as a newborn recognizes her mother’s voice, a teenager recognizes novel voices. You have friends and new companions as a teen, and you want to spend time with them. Your mind is becoming increasingly sensitive to and drawn to these foreign voices,’ stated lead author Daniel Abrams in a press statement.

Abram’s study discovered that teenage brains are more responsive to all voices they encounter. However, at this age, there is a change in the reward circuit and brain centers that prioritize significant inputs. These parts of the brain were more active in response to unknown voices than in response to the mother’s voice.

According to the researchers, this flip is also a sign of proper development. ‘A child becomes autonomous at some time, and that must be initiated by an underlying biological signal,’ said Vinod Menon, the study’s principal author. Menon continued that the transition allows kids to interact with the world more deeply and develop connections that would help them be socially competent outside of their homes.

The latest study was based on a 2016 study that found that children can recognize their mother’s voice even before they are born. This research will be expanded to gain a better knowledge of the brain’s stimulus-response in teenagers with autism and other mental illnesses.


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