Scientists have been theorizing for decades why humans live much longer than their reproductive years, and they might have found that it’s because of grandmas.
There’s a thing called ‘the grandmother effect’ and it’s known among hunter-gatherer societies. So, they claim that grandmas played a vital role in finding food and raising children. The grandmother’s role was so important that it had so big impact on whether or not the children will make it.
This is what Haider J. Warraich writes in Stat:
“By relieving a mother of some of her child-raising responsibilities, so the thinking goes, grandmothers make it easier for their daughters to have more children and also make it possible for those children to have longer lives by helping them during the difficult early years of life,”
A new study conducted by James Riling of Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, which was published in ‘The Royal Society’ shows that The Grandmother Effect could be the main reason why grandmas may feel a closer emotional bond to their grandchildren than their own children.
The study measures brain function in 50 grandmas with at least one biological grandchild aged 3 to 12. They showed grandmas photos of their own grandchild, an unknown child, an unknown adult, and the parent of the grandchild. According to the study, whenever the grandmas saw the photo of their own grandchild, some parts of their brains were activated, and are associated with emotional empathy and movement.
In contrast, when the grandmas were shown a photo of their adult child, it activated areas of the brain that are associated with cognitive empathy.
So, to put it simply, the grandmas empathized more with their grandchildren emotionally, while they were cognitively trying to understand what their adult children were thinking.
“That suggests that grandmothers are geared toward feeling what their grandchildren are feeling when they interact with them. If their grandchild is smiling, they’re feeling the child’s joy. And if their grandchild is crying, they’re feeling the child’s pain and distress.” – the article concluded.
So, now it all makes sense! It’s no surprise that our grandmas seem to be hardwired to love us no matter what, and even science proves it!