Angry voices may affect babies’ brains
Parenting can be stressful, but new research suggests that it might be better for the baby if parents to take their quarrels outside. A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that the sounds of parents arguing – or any angry voices – have an impact on an infant’s brain even when the infant is sleeping.
For the study, researchers at the University of Oregon examined the brain patterns of 20 sleeping babies – some from ‘healthy’ homes and some from ‘high-conflict’ homes where there was often arguing between parents – as they listened to nonsense sentences spoken by a male adult in very angry, mildly angry, happy or neutral tones. The babies living in high-conflict homes had a stronger response in the stress and emotion regulation areas of their brain to the very angry voices than the babies who came from low-conflict homes.
The study supports previous research suggesting that infants’ brains are constantly shaped by the situations around them whether the child is awake or not.