From the eighteenth week of gestation, a baby’s ears begin to form, and it starts listening to its mother. Much of that sound is actually the sound of her breathing, eating and heart beating, but her voice can also be heard among the din of biological processes. That voice can then be recognized by the infant from the day it’s born, but it’s more than familiarity that make it stand out as a baby’s favorite sound.
Babies, and later children, actually process the sound of their mother’s voice differently than other sounds. In addition to hearing the sound of her speech, a mother’s voice also activates emotion, reward and facial recognition centers in her children’s brains. This allows children to aurally identify their mother from less than a second of sound, even if their mom is speaking gibberish. All this brain activity likely helps the kids find and and be motivated to tune into their mother’s words, which can obviously help with survival if she’s calling them to come to safety, or get fished out of a crowded place.
More than listening to your mother
This pattern may tie into more than always heeding the wisdom of one’s mother. Children who exhibited stronger interconnectivity in this maternal-identification circuit were also rated as having better social communication skills overall. Scientists now wonder if listening associated with social bonding somehow make use of these centers as well.
My first grader said: I like listening to you too, Daddy.
Thanks, sweetie. I appreciate that.
Source: That's My Mom: Mother's Voice Lights Up Kids' Brains - See more at: http://www.livescience.com/54759-childs-brain-knows-mothers-voice.html by Sara G. Miller, Live Science