Brain imaging study finds evidence of basis for caregiving impulse

Distinct patterns of activitywhich may indicate a predisposition to care for infants-- appear in the brains of adults who view an image of an infant faceeven when the child is not theirs, according to a study by researchers at the National Institutes of Health and in Germany, Italy, and Japan. To collect the data, the researchers showed seven men and nine women a series of images while recording their brain activity with a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner. When the researchers compared the areas and strength of brain activity in response to each kind of image, they found that infant images evoked more activity than any of the other images in brain areas associated with three main functions: Premotor and preverbal activity: The researchers documented increased activity in the premotor cortex and the supplemental motor area, which are regions of the brain directly under the crown of the head.

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