If you feel that your mother is nicer to your kids than she is to you, there might be a biological explanation. In a new study published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, researchers at Emory University studied 50 grandmothers who claimed to have good relationships with their grandchildren and spent a lot of time with them. The researchers used functional MRIs to measure changes in blood flow in their brains in response to images of their grandchild, another child they didn’t know, an adult they didn’t know, and their own child, who was a parent to their grandchildren. Not surprisingly, grandmothers showed more of a response when looking at their grandchildren than children they didn’t know. But what was fascinating was that when looking at their grandchildren, they showed stronger emotional empathy than they did with their own children. It appears that grandparents are more wired to have an emotional response when it comes to their grandchildren.
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