Hearing the sounds of arguments affects how a baby’s brain processes emotional tones of a voice, a new study finds. The little ones’ brains lit up in response to angry tones, even while they were asleep.
Babies’ minds are extremely malleable. The environments and events they experience shape their brains for good or for ill. Stress due to maltreatment or being raised in an institution can take a toll on a baby’s development. But this study, to be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Psychological Science, shows that even moderate stresses can affect brain function.
“We were interested in whether a common source of early stress in children’s lives — conflict between parents — is associated with how infants’ brains function,” lead study author Alice Graham of the University of Oregon said in a statement.
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