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  1. #1
    violaine
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    Default Plasticity of the Maternal Brain

    @Njinte posted a link regarding "Mommy Brain" in a now closed thread. It didn't seem like a complete picture to me of what happens to the brains of new mothers. It doesn't make sense to me that a woman would lose her ability to think at the outset of the long, demanding role of raising long-dependent offspring. The article posted mentioned that sleep deprivation couldn't be ruled out as a likely cause of any degradation in cognitive abilities.

    Still, seemed like a simplistic analysis. I wondered if mothers' brains were tasked with something else. (e.g. I feel more "primal", as in, don't ever fuck with my child or I will have you hunted down and hurt. *not joking* I never even used to support the death penalty).

    Further to Njinte's link, here are some more articles discussing research that show a mother's brain likely actually grows. It's selective growth. Gray matter apparently increases in small but significant amounts. Though the ability to multitask may be affected. (That makes sense to me in that it's advantageous to mother, child and society for a child to take priority and form a strong emotional bond with her/his mother). It's about having different priorities and ensuring the survival of offspring, one's genes.

    "From an evolutionary standpoint, a mother is faced with a really significant challenge," Kinsley said. "She had to do everything she did before, plus a whole new suite of behaviors to keep her offspring alive. How females evolved in nature is to have their brains adapt in pregnancy, so that their young enhance their behaviors.". From this article, also linked below.


    http://www.apa.org/news/press/releas...mmy-brain.aspx
    http://news.discovery.com/human/psyc...al-changes.htm
    http://www.livemom.com/2012/06/26/fu...n-mommy-brain/

  2. #2
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by violaine View Post
    @Njinte posted a link regarding "Mommy Brain" in a now closed thread. It didn't seem like a complete picture to me of what happens to the brains of new mothers. It doesn't make sense to me that a woman would lose her ability to think at the outset of the long, demanding role of raising long-dependent offspring. The article posted mentioned that sleep deprivation couldn't be ruled out as a likely cause of any degradation in cognitive abilities.

    Still, seemed like a simplistic analysis.
    Indeed. Having a child is a momentous, lifechanging event. Perhaps any such event affects one's memory and mental functioning, at least until it can be absorbed and integrated into one's life. Has anyone examined the brains of new fathers, or people who lost a close loved one, or were told they had cancer, or even had a major change of job?
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    I haven't verified this, but I've heard it stated that male testosterone levels in the father drop when the mother gives birth -- probably a pheromones thing that triggers it (?). This makes it more likely for him to stay around.

    I don't think it's rocket science to imagine the human body and brain reprioritizing to better handle the needs of a particular situation. It doesn't have to be a drastic change, it's just a reshifting of the levers and sliders to reconfigure a parent (in this thread, the mom) in a way that will contribute further to survival of the infant.

    It's not an outrageous idea at all. And i think one of the most obvious strengths of humans is adapatability. We are very malleable and take a lot of imprinting from our environment especially when young, as compared to some other species that are more instinctive.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

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    Senior Member INTP's Avatar
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    i remember reading some study some time ago that women who have boy child will have an increase in their testosterone levels and that might have some long term effect(i dont remember if the testosterone level increased for good and that made the long term effect or if it was just the fact that testosterone increasing during pregnancy had some long term effects).
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    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by INTP View Post
    i remember reading some study some time ago that women who have boy child will have an increase in their testosterone levels and that might have some long term effect(i dont remember if the testosterone level increased for good and that made the long term effect or if it was just the fact that testosterone increasing during pregnancy had some long term effects).
    Actually, there's a pattern with male children who identify as gay to have older brothers, and it's assumed that the interplay of estrogen from the mom and the testosterone of the prior male children changes the womb environment in some way that will contribute to priming a gay male baby.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  6. #6
    violaine
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    My contribution to this thread will be at a stately pace. Oh to be able to see and map the impact of major life events @Coriolis. (I have an acquaintance who works with mapping the brains of rats and her research is fascinating). I read a pretty popular book about neural plasticity called "The Brain that Changes Itself" that is fascinating in respect of the way the brain can "reroute" functions after physical damage to parts of the brain as occurs during strokes. Old news, but still.

    @Jennifer, I did read some interesting research about changes in testosterone levels of new fathers. As you suppose, it is apparently so they will stay to help rear the child. Human males are unusual in that respect in that they are one of the few male mammals to help with child rearing. And they likely don't have to compete with other males for mates anymore. Off on my own unsupported tangent here, but I also wonder if the drop functions as a way for the newborn child to become the focus for long enough that a bond is established (and therefore the child will be taken care of), before another child would likely be conceived.

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    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    OP refers to a link that OP neglects to post. Perhaps OP forgot.
    Here it is: http://www.smh.com.au/news/national/...090421354.html
    Credit: @Njinte

    So it's official: in addition to fucking up your body, your sex life, your social life and your career, pregnancy also fucks up your brain?

    Why do people do this stuff again?
    Oh yeah. That ticking clock...
    Biology is a cruel mistress indeed. Particularly cruel to females it seems, then again, testosterone produces a near-permanent "brain fog" all of it's own...

    Thankfully, as a genderless INTP freak I don't have to contend with these problems.

    I have though, observed massive changes in the behaviour and cognitive abilities of broody hens. They become very territorial, more aggressive and vocal and also kinda ...fucked in the head - they forget to eat and drink, stop taking care of themselves, lose their place in the pecking order, get fixated on their nests and go into a sort of catatonic trance, which, I suppose, is a mercy given how boring it must be to sit in the nest all day every day. All this must be mediated by hormones, they do it with or without actual chicks or even eggs.
    It's sad to watch. I wish someone would come up with an antidote already.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  8. #8
    Analytical Dreamer Coriolis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Salomé View Post
    So it's official: in addition to fucking up your body, your sex life, your social life and your career, pregnancy also fucks up your brain?

    Why do people do this stuff again?
    Oh yeah. That ticking clock...
    Biology is a cruel mistress indeed. Particularly cruel to females it seems, then again, testosterone produces a near-permanent "brain fog" all of it's own...

    Thankfully, as a genderless INTP freak I don't have to contend with these problems.

    I have though, observed massive changes in the behaviour and cognitive abilities of broody hens. They become very territorial, more aggressive and vocal and also kinda ...fucked in the head - they forget to eat and drink, stop taking care of themselves, lose their place in the pecking order, get fixated on their nests and go into a sort of catatonic trance, which, I suppose, is a mercy given how boring it must be to sit in the nest all day every day. All this must be mediated by hormones, they do it with or without actual chicks or even eggs.
    It's sad to watch. I wish someone would come up with an antidote already.
    Indeed. What is truly sad is that most of it is unnecessary and avoidable. One must want to avoid it, however.
    I've been called a criminal, a terrorist, and a threat to the known universe. But everything you were told is a lie. The truth is, they've taken our freedom, our home, and our future. The time has come for all humanity to take a stand...

  9. #9
    meh Salomé's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Coriolis View Post
    Indeed. What is truly sad is that most of it is unnecessary and avoidable. One must want to avoid it, however.
    It's a little necessary. Someone has to fire out those sprogs that will pay for our pensions, after all.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ivy View Post
    Gosh, the world looks so small from up here on my high horse of menstruation.

  10. #10
    likes this gromit's Avatar
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    UGH... friends having newborn babies is such good incentive to me NOT to have a baby myself. Although friends with toddlers and older make it seem like less of a bad deal.

    I would be curious of effects separate from those of extended sleep deprivation.
    Your kisses, sweeter than honey. But guess what, so is my money.

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