Grandmothers and Grandchildren Feel the Same Emotions: Science Says So

Grandmothers and Grandchildren Feel the Same Emotions: Science Says So

American research reveals that there is a special relationship between grandmothers and grandchildren, based on empathy and the ability to feel the same feelings in the face of life events


It was well known that grandmothers had a special transport for their grandchildren, but now a scientific study reveals that it is not just that: between grandmothers and grandchildren there is an intense emotional connection, which is even greater than that which characterizes the bond between them. women and their own children.


Emotions studied with magnetic resonance

This was pointed out by the research conducted by Professor James Rilling, an anthropologist at the University of Emory in Georgia, who examined fifty women with at least one grandchild between the ages of 3 and 12, to better understand the biological reasons for this harmony. The researchers investigated each of them, subjecting them to MRI scans to understand the changes in the brain when faced with viewing images of their children, their grandchildren, and unknown children or adults. And the result was amazing. There was a strong emotional empathy with the grandchildren. As Professor Rilling explained, grandmothers felt the same emotions as their grandchildren, so if for example in the image the child smiled even the grandmother felt the same joy if the grandmother cried she felt equally sad.


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With children, the relationship is different

A profound connection, therefore, was not the same one experienced when a similar test was conducted with fathers looking at the photographs of their children. Grandmothers felt more involved in the areas of the brain that oversee emotions, but also satisfaction and motivation. Then by analyzing the reactions of grandmothers to the images of their own children, Emory’s experts realized that the empathy generated by this vision was different.


It was a cognitive sensation, that the grandmothers, in their role as mothers, tried to understand the situation of their children and what they were feeling at that moment, rather than experiencing emotions similar to theirs, as was the case with the grandchildren. A difference that perhaps explains why, after the birth of a child, his parents have the impression that the grandparents are more enthusiastic about seeing the baby rather than them.

There are different forms of care for little ones

The study, published in the international journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B., also highlights why children are somehow able to “manipulate” the brains of their grandparents and get them what they want. Thanks to the tenderness they arouse, the fact that they are adorable but also this special connection. According to Professor Rilling, then, this research could leave room for the idea that in the human brain mechanisms of care and assistance are created when a child is born, which are however different in the case of mothers, fathers, and grandmothers.

Grandmothers have a key educational role

The confirmation of this special feeling that binds grandmothers and grandchildren, however, ends up assigning them an increasingly important task at the educational level. But after all, already in the 1960s, experts argued that if women live longer it is also because they want to be there for the arrival of their grandchildren and want to have the opportunity to give physical and emotional support during their growth. While recent research has revealed how the well-being and even the school results of children are positively influenced by the presence of grandparents who collaborate in family life.

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How is your son’s relationship with his grandmother? Leave us your comment!


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