A Mother’s Voice In The Back Of Your Head
That voice in the back of your head, does it sound a lot like your mother’s?
I don’t remember a lot from my younger years, but there are a few moments or memories that stayed with me. One of them, as announced in this blog’s title, is the effect of a mother’s voice.
As a kid, I didn’t want and refused to wake up early in the morning to go to school. I hated when my alarm clock went off! Going to school is one thing but also waking up at 8 AM is a whole new level of torture.
Regardless of how much I wanted to snooze, whenever I heard my mum’s voice, my eyes would open and my mind would shift. I would slowly push away my blanket and sit straight up. After a yawn or two, I got out of bed. Then I put my clothes on, brushed my teeth, and headed downstairs together with my sisters. I still remember that day when I asked myself and my sisters: “Why can’t an annoying sounding alarm clock wake me up, but the voice from our mother can?”
What Studies Are Saying
It’s been long known that babies can hear their mother’s voice from inside the womb and that after birth, new-borns are able to recognise their mother’s voice as well.
A study from 2014 demonstrated that playing a recording of the mother’s voice when babies sucked on a pacifier was enough to improve the development of oral feeding skills and shorten their hospital stay. Also, a mother’s voice can soothe a child in stressful situations, reducing the stress hormone cortisol while increasing the social bonding hormone oxytocin.
Another study by Stanford University School of Medicine in 2016, suggests that our brains may be more keyed into your mom’s voice than we ever realised. Here is where it gets interesting: What happens when children grow up?
To start off, researchers hypothesised that listening to your mother’s voice would produce more activity in the so-called ‘voice-selective’ brain regions, involved in recognising voice and processing speech, compared with unfamiliar female voices.
“To study the theory that the mother’s voice has a key role in the emotional and social development of a child, brain scans were done on 24 healthy children, between the ages of 7 and 12. The children were exposed to clips (lasting less than a second) of gibberish words spoken by their biological mother, and clips recorded by two women the children did not know.”
What the researchers found exceeded their own expectations: “97 per cent of the time, the children were able to identify the voice of their mother.”
Besides that, they found that a mother’s voice activates a wide range of brain regions that aren’t limited to the hearing areas, but they also include those involved in emotion and social functions. The study found that the stronger the connections are between the brain regions activated by the mother’s voice; the better the child’s communication skills usually are in the future.
My Mother’s Voice
For those who are familiar with my history, I reunited with my mother and sisters at the age of ten. Even though it’s not the complete story, you can read more about my personal history HERE.
Basically, I have met my mother a few times, but I didn’t know who she was. Her voice just sounded familiar, which had a soothing effect on me and I have no way to explain or makes sense out of it. All I knew is that she was treating me well and bought me toys. What more could a kid ask for, right? Anyways, I felt I could trust her.
And now, I still have questions but answers to these questions remain unknown. I have decided that my past should stay in the past, to enjoy the present and look forward to the future.
My question from when I was a kid is now scientifically proven that most of us carry a mother’s voice in the neural patterns of our brain: bedtime stories, dinnertime conversation and the chatter we heard before birth identify us, uniquely enable emotional development and social communication in childhood, and probably, through life.
The researchers hope to use the findings from the pattern of connections found in the brains of the children who had the greatest connectivity, to study the brains of children who have difficulty with social communication.
So, in short, my life has gone through some major changes over the years in terms of what I value, what my interests are, what my goals are, who I consider my family and friends, and much more. It’s all a bit ironic. You see, I wasn’t really looking to change myself at all, things just started happening. That’s a nice way to sum up life I suppose.
At the same time, it’s weird: although growing and changing is obviously a good thing, it’s also very confusing because you become a bit of a new person. Unfortunately, people hardly talk about what they are going through and are afraid of it, even though there are so many questions. So, I started to write about my experiences in my blogs, hoping to inspire and change people’s lives for the better.
My mission is to positively influence people who find themselves in a tough transition in their lives through content published on my website ye-chen.com. I want this website to be our go-to place when we stand face-to-face with adversity – where we openly share the changes we have been through and going through.