Do Grannies feel more connected with their Grandchildren: Study Says Yes
It is very often heard that grandparents are the ones who spoil kids the most. The grandparents and their grandkids bear a special bond and hence the existence of the same results in mutually benefiting both of them in terms of well-being and health. The existence of love, acceptance, fun and patience in their relationships results in worthwhile effects.
The existence of adults in the life of grandchildren can make a great impact, and the same has been concluded in one of the recent studies by James Rilling. He is a professor of anthropology, psychiatry and behavioural sciences at Emory University assembled the brain functions of 50 grandmothers each having at least one grandchild aged between 3 to 12 years of age group. The curiosity of James Rilling had about this connection and human adaption was the one which encouraged him to measure the brain functions of grannies while viewing the photos of their grandchildren’s along with the pictures of their offspring. The brain scans captured by the way of functional resonance imaging depict that the grannies act and feel especially connected to their grandchildren differently than their kids.
The study found that both the reaction as well as the outcome of the grandmother varies with that of the photographs they are viewing. Rilling in his report stated that when grannies were exposed to the photos of their grandchildren, their brain regions which are specifically allied with emotional empathy got activated. This sign depicts that grannies are inclined to share the emotional as well as other related states of their grandchildren. Whereas on the contrary when they were made to look at the photographs of their kids the areas of their brain which are associated with cognitive empathy got activated which in itself depicts that grannies are not emotionally associating with their kids rather they are only cognitively understanding. Cognitive empathy only helps in understanding what others might be thinking but fails in connecting the emotional aspect. In simple terms, emotional empathy is the one aptitude which makes us feel the emotions that another person is associated with and the same with grandmothers as well.
Rilling also emphasizes the fact that variations concerning the outcomes vary from person to person as one can be the higher scores of empathy in grandmothers as compared to fathers for their children. He along with his team has also carried certain other similar studies where they made fathers look at the photographs of their kids. After comparing the two data belonging to different groups grannies and dads, the team found that the data containing the grandmother group exhibits stronger activations in terms of emotional empathy and the other related areas of motivation and reward.
The study shows that grandmas tend to exhibit the same level of emotional attributes and activations as that their grandchildren. Whereas the same is not the case with adult children. Rillings elucidated the instance, which if the grandchild is smiling the same happens with grannies as they sense the same joy and if their grandchild is sad or is crying they tend to sense the child’s pain and distress.
Various researchers have also speculated the fact that getting into the role of grandma, also results in one of the long-living reasons for most women. Even before the concept of brain imaging came into existence the grandmother hypothesis has been taken out by researchers in 1960 which has now evolved. The science also shows that the existence of engaged grandparents or specifically the grannies in the daily life of kids can help in boosting their emotional well-being as well as their overall educational outcomes.
Rilling for more factual results also interacted with the various number of real heroes of the study which are none other than the grandmothers herself. Where he found that grannies feel completely different when they are engaged with their grandchildren in certain games or while answering their curious minds.