A recent study by Stanford University in the Journal of Neuroscience addresses the issue of maturity and healthy development among children.
As part of the study, researchers made and administered audio recordings of the caregiver. The audio was played for the teenage offspring of the mothers during fMRI scans.
“Using functional brain imaging of human voice processing in children and adolescents (ages 7-16), we demonstrate distinct neural signatures for mother’s voice and nonfamilial voices across child and adolescent development in reward and social valuation systems, instantiated in nucleus accumbens and ventromedial prefrontal cortex,” the study reads.
“Findings uncover a critical role for reward and social valuative brain systems in the pronounced changes in adolescents’ orientation towards nonfamilial social targets,” the study also emphasizes.
“Our approach provides a template for examining developmental shifts in social reward and motivation in individuals with pronounced social impairments, including adolescents with autism.”