Washington, Feb 27 (UNI) Babies are always loveable , but why they charm adults with their sparkling eyes and innocent face has now been explained by scientists.
A research by scientists at the University of Oxford has found that a region of the human brain called the medial orbitofrontal cortex is highly specifically active within a seventh of a second in response to infant faces but not to adult faces, the Science Daily reported today.
After conducting a study using called magnetoencephalography (MEG) method, authors Morten Kringelbach and Alan Stein found a key difference in the early brain activity of normal adults when they viewed infant faces compared to adult faces. In addition to the well documented brain activity in the visual areas of the brain in response to faces, early activity was found in the medial orbitofrontal cortex to infant faces but not adult faces.
This wave of activity starts around a seventh of a second after presentation of an infant face. These responses are almost certainly too fast to be consciously controlled and are therefore perhaps instinctive.
The research has potentially important clinical application in relation to postnatal depression, which is common, occurring in approximately 13 per cent of mothers after birth and often within six weeks. The present findings could eventually provide opportunities for early identification of families at risk.
The medial orbitofrontal cortex is located in the front of the brain, just over the eyeballs. It is a key region of the emotional brain and appears to be related to the ongoing monitoring of salient reward-related stimuli in the environment.
In the context of the experiment, the medial orbitofrontal cortex may provide the necessary emotional tagging of infant faces that predisposes us to treat infant faces as special and plays a key role in establishing a parental bond.
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