It is now official, guys, women are more attuned to a baby’s needs, at least when that need is to be fed. More attuned as in their brains are more activated when a hungry baby cries. Now, I realize that any couple with a kid figured that out a long time ago. But this study is really cool so I wanted to share it with you. It was released by the National Institutes of Health May 6, 2013. Here is the short version. They had females and males “zone out” to white background noise and get really relaxed. Then they played a hungry baby crying. The women’s’ brains immediately switched to attention mode. The guys’ brains remained in the resting state. Oops! Earlier studies had already shown that women are more likely than men to feel sympathy when they hear an infant cry, and are more likely to want to care for the infant.
There’s more. The cries of infants who develop autism tend to be higher pitched than those of other infants and that the pauses between cries are shorter. In this study, both men and women tended to interrupt their mind wandering when they heard these cries.
So what does all this mean? It seems women are hardwired to take care of babies. Duh!
Will this study play a part in child custody hearings? Who knows, not me.
Louis Cataldie, MD