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Science

Parenting Rewires the Male Brain 291

Posted by Soulskill
from the swearing-circuits-rerouted-and-patience-circuits-bolstered dept.
sciencehabit writes: "Cultures around the world have long assumed that women are hardwired to be mothers. But a new study (abstract) suggests that caring for children awakens a parenting network in the brain—even turning on some of the same circuits in men as it does in women. The research implies that the neural underpinnings of the so-called maternal instinct aren't unique to women, or activated solely by hormones, but can be developed by anyone who chooses to be a parent."
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Parenting Rewires the Male Brain

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  • by Dj Stingray (178766) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:12AM (#47105011)

    I have been discriminated against a few times because I choose to be childless.

  • False assumptions (Score:5, Insightful)

    by BitZtream (692029) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:32AM (#47105095)

    One assumption of this study is that because homosexual men have a specific reaction in their brains, that all men have it. It ignores the possibility that homosexual men's brains are different from the start. It doesn't consider/ignores the fact that homosexual men are wired differently from the start which means they may have the same ability as women from the start as well. The wiring that makes a man homosexual may be the same wiring that makes them more nurturing/worrying/ect like mothers.

    There isn't enough evidence to draw the conclusions they are drawing. This is a simple matter of someone deciding correlation is causation. It may be true, it may not, but this study is pretty inconclusive and jumps to conclusions that it shouldn't

    I see nothing referencing heterosexual single fathers and how they compare/contrast to all this, which would be much more telling as far as the conclusions they've drawn.

  • by fractoid (1076465) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:45AM (#47105141) Homepage
    Our brains learn things by "rewiring" themselves. Why should we be surprised that spending a large amount of time causes a detectable difference in the action of the brain? Implying that men don't have the neural circuitry required for parenting is as retarded as implying that women don't have the neural circuitry required for mathematics.
  • by hsmith (818216) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:54AM (#47105165)
    Insane. We flew within 2 months of our daughter being born and will be taking her to Japan next year.

    It is an excuse for the lazy.
  • I don't doubt it. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sasayaki (1096761) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @12:59AM (#47105181)

    A few years ago, my ex had a miscarriage at three months. By that point I was already accepting that there was going to be a kid and planning accordingly (adding another room to the house, telling friends and co-workers, etc). We dated for five years and the stress that caused ended an already fragile relationship.

    Since then, I've noticed a distinct change in my personality. It's subtle and hard to quantify in absolute terms, but it's definitely there and I'm not the only one who noticed. I'm a lot less interested in women than I was before. I'm a lot more interested in stability, especially financial, and I'm finding myself doting on my cat a lot more (she's the bestest). While I'm still in many ways "an overgrown college kid" I've noticed that I'm also assuming a lot more responsibilities with my life, especially cleaning, cooking, and being a lot more timely and responsible* in my behaviour.

    It's hard to assign causation to something like this -- I'm nearly 30 now. Did I just get older and is that adequate enough to explain it? Was it because I was exposed to a lot of new things, such as The Atheist Experience which I started watching just after the breakup? Or maybe it was just a change in the social and political climate locally, here in Australia? Or possibly the change in friend circles (I moved across the country afterward) that did it? I lost a lot of weight, maybe that's it too? Or the change in career (IT to full time writer)?

    It's hard to pin down, but something changed and although a lot of factors I can think of were environmental I'd find it quite plausible that there is a distinct bio-chemical trigger at play here too. Probably 75% environmental, 25% chemical?

    The whole thing is very interesting at any rate.

    *I bought a Pikachu onesie a week ago so maybe not too responsible.

  • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @01:00AM (#47105187)

    My girlfriend and I have chosen never to have children because it would interfere with our ability to travel.

    Traveling with kids isn't that hard. You can get a backpack with a kid seat that will work till they are about five. When they are eight, they can walk fast enough to keep up. So that is only a three year window when they are too heavy to carry and too slow to walk. My daughter was born in California. My son was born in Shanghai. They have both been to five continents, and both speak three languages (English, Mandarin, and Spanish). When they grow up, they will have an international perspective, and can be a bridge between cultures. Kids will only hold you back if you use them as an excuse not to go.

  • by Belial6 (794905) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @01:02AM (#47105203)
    Most people won't get it because we currently live in a time when it is heresy to say that men are better than women at anything, while it is also heresy to imply that women are not better than men at most things. We live in a misandrist society.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @01:44AM (#47105369)

    Why should anyone need a fucking "excuse" to not have little brats? I think it's more lazy to keep having kids than to take the measures not to. The majority of parents who have children do so because it's either expected of them or because THEY need to feel a certain way. NEWSFLASH, society already has plenty of kids, more than enough, in fact - too many. Screw the ozone layer and the environment, overpopulation is going to kill us long before any of that does. So take your self righteous bullshit that you use to cover up for your weakness in feeling the need to procreate, and let the rest of us who can fill our lives very well thank you without reproducing enjoy our choices in life. It's so much more selfish to think you are such a special snowflake that you need to pass on your seed than to recognize that you know what, I'm all set with that - I don't need kids to define my life.

  • by cerberusss (660701) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @01:51AM (#47105395) Homepage Journal

    Implying that men don't have the neural circuitry required for parenting is as retarded as implying that women don't have the neural circuitry required for mathematics.

    Heh that brings back memories, and not the good ones. I can't count the times the wife said something on the lines of: "I am the mother, so obviously I know best." The first half year after our baby girl was born, I had to really fight for my half of fatherhood.

    Society nowadays expect you to do your half of the parenting, but when that time comes, your wife's instincts might take over and decide it would be much better if you just followed her orders.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @01:51AM (#47105397)

    Just think - if you parents had thought this way, then we'd have one less asshole in the world!

  • by Mr.No (752782) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @04:21AM (#47106015)

    That's just fine - you carry on believing that. The rest of us will keep on breeding. As you are removing yourself from the gene pool, your beliefs will die out with you.

    Strange, I see idiots breeding like rabbits and expecting government/god to take care of the children as if they had a mission to carry on the human race while intelligent people choose to not breed because they have something between their two ears. Having children because we need them to pay for your pension is nothing short of Ponzi scheme, having above 25% unemployment among the young as in Spain, Italy just screws up these "we need more children to work and pay for retirement pensions".

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @04:23AM (#47106025) Homepage

    who persistently find in favour of the woman, ignoring the benefits that a father can bring to children: if mother does not want her ex-partner around the courts do little to help dad remain in the kids lives. She can break court orders with little penalty while dad is faced with huge legal bills and delays. The courts pretend to act in the best interests of the children - but really they are prejudiced in favour of mothers.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @04:42AM (#47106095) Homepage

    Your children are a reflection of yourself. If they are difficult, it's because you are difficult. It absolutely amazes me that people never quite get this. If you want to have good children, be a better person. Seriously.

  • by epyT-R (613989) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @05:51AM (#47106375)

    Perhaps, but these days, it's hard to separate the science from the politics. I'm leery of 'studies' like this as they're usually put out by some think tank or other that's looking to provide 'scientific' justification for a particular ideology.

    I know three stay at home dads who thought it would be wonderful. They are now shells of their former selves as their wives treat them as thankless slaves. Also, thanks to lizard-brain dynamics, the women don't find their husbands attractive anymore. Nothing dries a vagina faster than a guy who's providing less than she is while doing 'womanly' things. It doesn't matter how logical the trade offs and value propositions are, that she's making the 200k while he's changing diapers and keeping house. This is a case of animal imperatives conflicting with social conditioning. One described it as being the one sitting in the 'guy chair' at a women's clothing outlet, holding her pocketbook, except it's 10x worse and it's 24/7. No sense of self respect for him, and she has no respect for him. Feminists say that male distaste of traditionally feminine tasks is proof of provincial attitudes, but really all they're doing is shaming men for being men. A lot of guys fall for this now as that's how the current crop of 30something fathers was brought up. I realize this is just anecdotal and that there are cases that work out, but it does mirror the trends, tropes, and stereotypes, seen in the media. This is clearly the direction society is headed in and it's really quite sad.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @08:47AM (#47107253)

    Insane. We flew within 2 months of our daughter being born and will be taking her to Japan next year.

    As a frequent traveler, thanks for that...

    As a child, WTF mom and dad? This place is loud and my ears hurt like hell and I don't understand anything about it.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @09:31AM (#47107689)

    Sadly, our society sees women as "natural parents" and men as "idiots who would feed the baby pizza and beer if given the chance." While out their kids, some dads are told how nice it is that they are "babysitting" them. It amazes some people that men can actually be good dads and are capable of actually helping in the house. (For example, I'm the chef of our family. I cook all of the dinners.) Part of the blame for this are the endless TV shows portraying the idiot bumbling dad who would go to ruin if it weren't for his loving, extremely-patient wife. (Have a TV show with an idiot bumbling wife and a patient dad and watch the complaints fly.)

    Even worse is the view that all men are psycho kid-stalkers out to do harm to any child they can. If my wife and I saw a child crying on the sidewalk by himself or herself, I wouldn't walk up to them. I'd want to. I'd want to help, but I'd know better. I'd be seen as "creepy man preying on an innocent kid." My wife, on the other hand, would be able to do that because she's a woman. She'd be seen as "loving woman who wants to help a child."

  • by ultranova (717540) on Wednesday May 28, 2014 @09:45AM (#47107831)

    And now we're stuck with an asshole too many, that thinks that people aren't entitled to their own opinion, no matter how subversive it may be.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion. That doesn't mean you can't be judged by those opinions. Also, "The majority of parents who have children do so because" is not an opinion but a claim, an assertion about the factual state of affairs, for which the grandparent presented no evidence. And no, everyone is not entitled to their own facts.

"Irrationality is the square root of all evil" -- Douglas Hofstadter

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