Having a baby does a lot to your brain beyond turning it into sweet potato puree. Your new infant can even get you high, man. But that’s nothing compared to the trip your spouse has endured. According groundbreaking research on new parents, while your baby is giving you some feel-good hormones, they’re also giving your partner a straight up lobotomy.
In the study, researchers looked at the brain scans of women who had never conceived before, and again after they had given birth for the first time. Results showed a remarkable loss of gray matter in several brain areas responsible for social cognition — specifically, registering and considering how other people see things (like say, Grandma). And she thought having kids would make her go gray. On the surface this could seem like the mother of your child is literally losing her mind, but authors of the study suspect the brain is actually streamlining itself to make them better nurturers.
Elseline Hoekzema, a researcher at Leiden University in the Netherlands, who led the study noted that the loss of gray matter isn’t always a bad thing. “It can also represent a beneficial process of maturation or specialization,”she explained. In a sense, it’s getting rid of all the distractions to focus on loving the tiny human you both made. So a little “brain damage” goes along way.
Ok, it’s not brain damage, but experts suspect it’s a brain adaptation. Supporting this theory, the study also found that these changes were linked with greater emotional attachment to their babies. Plus, it only last 2 years and the brain scans of fathers showed no such alterations. Who’s got 2 thumbs and gets to shoulder that social responsibility in the meantime? This guy.
[H/T] The New York Times