Study: Mom's voice works like a charm on your brain

When mom speaks, a child's brain lights up like a Christmas tree, a new Stanford study says.

Story highlights

  • Several parts of the brain are amped by hearing from mom
  • This reaction to dear old mom's voice may stretch beyond childhood

(CNN)Less than one second. That's how long it takes children to recognize their mother's voice. And that voice lights a child's brain up like a Christmas tree.

A new study from Stanford University School of Medicine studied how children reacted to mom's voice compared to a woman they didn't know. Kids were not only more engaged by mom's voice than a stranger's, scientists found, but this response was noted beyond just auditory areas of the brain.
Parts of the brain related to emotion, reward processing, facial recognition and social functioning are also amped by hearing from mom. In short, a child's ability to communicate socially is in a large way affected by how he or she reacts to mom's voice.