Why teens conflict with moms: scientists discover explanation in their brains

Yulia PoteriankoLife
During adolescence, the child's brain actually begins to react weaker to the mother's voice

Teenage rebellion against parents is a phenomenon known since ancient times. It was explained by various reasons, but with the development of medical technology, scientists began to study it at such deep levels as the brain reaction. And they have come to some very interesting conclusions.

One such study was reported by Science News. In the work, scientists found out how the child's perception of the mother's voice changes with age.

As one of the paper's authors, neuroscientist Daniel Abrams of Stanford University School of Medicine, told one of the authors, the findings may seem ridiculously obvious to parents of teenagers. Abrams is raising two teenage sons himself. But until now, however, the assumptions of experienced parents have not yet been instrumentally tested at this level. Meanwhile, as children grow up and expand their social connections beyond their family, their brains are radically rewired.

Abrams and colleagues scanned children ages 7 to 16 while these children listened to the voices of their mothers and female strangers. For the purity of the experiment, these voices did not utter genuine words, but rather similar sets of sounds stripped of meaning: "tibudishelt," "kebudishelt," and "pibudishelt." While listening, different parts of the brain were activated in the test children. But the activation was different for different ages.

It turned out that children aged 7-12 years reacted to their mother's voice with stronger arousal in the parts responsible for reward and attention. The voice of a stranger did not make such an impression on them. In older children, on the other hand, the opposite was true.

"Just as a child tunes in to mom, teenagers have a whole different class of sounds and voices that they need to tune in to," Abrams explained the phenomenon. Around the age of 13-14 years, the human brain begins to react sharper to the voice of another woman's voice, and mom begins, as they call it, to pass by the ears.

But scientists have explained this is not that the corresponding parts of the brain of the child stops responding to mom. It's just that unfamiliar voices begin to be more useful and worthy of attention as a young person's social connections expand.

According to Abrams, this is a natural and even correct process. Exploring new people and situations is a hallmark of adolescence. "What we see here is just a pure reflection of that phenomenon," the scientist said.

The study echoes findings from a study published in 2011 by biological anthropologist Leslie Seltzer of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and colleagues. They found that in girls who in a state of stress hear the voice of mom on the phone, the level of stress hormones drops. Text messages, on the other hand, did not produce this response in them.

The results of the study, which Abrams and colleagues published in June in the Journal of Neuroscience, reasonably support the idea that the brain changes to reflect new needs that come with time and experience. For example, Seltzer said, as a child grows up, survival depends less and less on maternal support and more and more on belonging to a group, particularly a peer group.

It remains unstated how universal this neural shift is. According to Seltzer, the mother-child relationship, parenting style, and even experiences of neglect and abuse can influence the results.

Earlier OBOZREVATEL told how scientists explained where the attraction of people for each other comes from.

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