- Great Dad - http://www.greatdad.com -

The Parental Instinct is Present in All of Us

Science has found new clues to why you may find yourself smiling at babies. Maybe after you’ve had one, this effect is even more pronounced, but scientists have long thought that we are programmed for survival to react to a baby’s face. Whether or not we say we like children, most people react positively to a baby’s face.

Now science appears to have real proof, as reported in an article in today’s Wall Street Journal:

Our brain can’t help itself. Our neurons reflexively respond to an infant’s big eyes, broad forehead, button nose and tiny chin, University of Oxford researchers recently reported in the online journal PLoS One.

Using a technique called magneto-encephalography that measures brain signals, the Oxford researchers found that a baby’s face can seize our attention in milliseconds, activating an unusual mental organ called the fusiform gyrus that responds to human faces. Moreover, these distinctive infant features, unlike the mature features of an adult, trigger a sense of reward and good feeling in a seventh of a second. Picture Bambi’s saucer-size eyes or those of Mickey Mouse.

So, if friends, or even your wife, are teasing you that you’ve gone soft around babies, maybe it’s not that you’re evolving, maybe just that we have as a species, to protect the little ones in our midst.