At the root of both adult and child psychology is the study of family bonds, and a group of American researchers decided to study these fundamental relationships by analyzing each member of the family — and their individual ties with the rest — one by one. The aim of the study was to demonstrate why, and how, certain pathologies were passed on within the family. It found that the transmission between mother and daughter is particularly strong, proving the strength of the bonds that unite them.
Details of the study
The researchers pre-selected 35 families in good health: they didn’t have any neurological or psychiatric disorders, no history of using strong medication or drugs, and no contraindications to magnetic resonance imaging (MRIs), which each participant underwent so a “map” of the brain could be created.
The results, obtained by analyzing the different reactive zones, as well as by conducting behavioral tests, were revealing. The analyses focused on father-daughter, father-son, mother-son, and mother-daughter relationships, in practically the same quantity. The goal of the study was to understand why, and how, depression and mood disorders seemed to be passed down within the family, particularly between mother and daughter.
Some interesting results
The research came up with the following findings: Mothers and daughters have identical anatomy in the part of the brain that governs the emotions. Although some resemblance can also, of course, be found between mother and son, father and daughter, and father and son, it is far stronger between mothers and daughters. As a consequence, the passing on of an emotional pattern will be very strong between mother and daughter, to the point that they will feel things in the same way and will be equally prone to the same pathologies.
A strengthened mutual understanding
The great news is that if you are a daughter, there is at least one person on this earth who will probably be able to understand you, as this similarity in the gray matter between mother and daughter favors mutual understanding. Mothers are more capable than anyone else of identifying and appreciating their daughter’s emotions, and vice versa. Sometimes, it is for this reason that mother-daughter relationships are not always easy — they are too close on an emotional level.
Obviously, this research opens up possibilities for further investigations, eventually including in the studies people with various pathologies; they may also work with larger sample of families. Meanwhile, the findings could explain why, even as adults, we choose to confide in our mothers above anybody else.
This article was originally published in the French edition of Aleteia and has been translated.
Photo Credit: Cruel Addiction Photography
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