Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mother's experience may produce phobias in children

Okay, this is a weird one. Scientists have found that the experiences of mothers during pregnancy may influence the behavior of their offspring. This may explain why many human babies appear to be born with a phobia of snakes and spiders, prior to any experience with them.

The newborn crickets whose mothers had been exposed to a spider were 113 percent more likely to seek shelter and stay there. They were also more likely to freeze when they encountered spider silk or feces — a behavior that could prevent them from being detected by a nearby spider. Overall, these newborns had better survival rates than other newborn crickets, eaten by the wolf spiders for the sake of science.
At the risk of freaking out pregnant mothers even more then normal, it makes me wonder just how many other behaviors are influenced by maternal experience. It should encourage fathers to do whatever they can to minimize the stress of their wives during this fragile time.

1 comment:

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