Tiny grins light up reward centers that lead to quality care, study says. Any mother who’s ever felt a jolt of joy at her baby’s first grin knows how intoxicating that can be.
Now, scientists at the Baylor College of Medicine say there’s more to the baby buzz than just a rush of happy feelings. Turns out that seeing your own child smile actually activates the pleasure receptors in the brain typically associated with food, sex — and drug addiction.
“It may be that seeing your own baby’s face is like a ‘natural high,’ said Lane Strathearn, an assistant professor of pediatrics at Baylor and and Texas Children’s Hospital who studied the brain reactions of 28 first-time moms.
“We know similar brain circuits are activated,” he added. “Whether that feels the same as a shot of cocaine, I’m not sure.” (more…)