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You Know What They Say About Nice Moms: Their Kids Have Big Brains

By amberdoty |

Have you heard about the hippocampus? That’s the region of the brain that is important for learning, memory and stress response, and if you are a nice mom you could give your kids a big one.

If you are tired of the constant warnings we are given as mothers on how we can inadvertently screw our kids up for life, you may be excited to learn about a new study that shows that simply nurturing and loving your child physically affects the size of your child’s brain. 

The study is part of an ongoing project to better understand the development of children who suffer from depression at an early age. The researchers placed a mother and child in a room with a wrapped gift and gave the mother a survey to fill out. The children were told that they may not open the gift until five minutes had passed.

A group of psychiatrists observed the participants and rated the amount of support each mother gave to her child. A supportive mom “would console her child, explaining that the child had only a few more minutes to wait and that she understands the situation was frustrating.”

Four years later, researchers gave 92% of the children who participated in the study an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). The results revealed that children of supportive mothers had a hippocampus which was 9.2% larger than that of children with mothers who were less supportive during the waiting exercise.

Nice moms, rejoice! According to this study, your daily acts of kindness and sensitivity will have a positive impact on your child’s memory, emotional health, and stress modulation and could help their social adaptation.

Via Jezebel.

Photo credit: Flickr

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About amberdoty

amberdoty

amberdoty

Amber Doty is a writer, scientist, wife, and mother to two boys. On Babble, Amber wrote for both Strollerderby and KidScoop about parenting news, pop culture, raising school-age children and general parenting tips. More of her work can be found on her website, The Daily Doty.

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0 thoughts on “You Know What They Say About Nice Moms: Their Kids Have Big Brains

  1. G says:

    I don’t know… Trying to fill out a survey and keep your kid from opening a present sounds like it could require a stress-response. Could these kids just have inherited their parents’ large hippocampuses? Although the study’s conclusion does sound right to me intuitively.

  2. anonymous says:

    this kind of sounds like the marshmallow experiment (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stanford_marshmallow_experiment) ..

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