Science Articles

WHY DO MOTHERS PROTECT THEIR YOUNG AND EVEN RISK THEIR LIVES?

Whether it is humans or animals, on facing the danger, parents behave in a different way when their young ones are involved.

WHY DO MOTHERS PROTECT THEIR YOUNG AND EVEN RISK THEIR LIVES?

Whether it is humans or animals, on facing the danger, parents behave in a different way when their young ones are involved. They risk their own lives to protect their young ones. The urge to save them is more than the urge to save their own selves. Earlier deemed as parent’s love, science has now found the reason behind this.

In a new research, it has been found that the reason behind a mother’s unconditional love for her offspring lies in love hormone. Oxytocin or the love hormone is the reason which drives a mother to protect her young ones at the cost of her own life. The research was published in the journal eLife.

THE EXPERIMENT

The experiment was conducted on rats which showed that the mothers become defensive when their kids were around. They seemed to be willing to end their own lives for saving their children. Rats were trained to fear the smell of peppermint and would freeze when they were alone. However, being with kids made them defensive.

After a lot of experiments, researchers found the reason to be the release of oxytocin in the brain. By releasing oxytocin into the amygdala, the animals unfroze and become defensive. When the researchers blocked oxytocin, the rats froze each time regardless of whether or not they were with their offsprings.

This established that the oxytocin or love hormone plays a vital role in the relationship between a mother and child. This also unlocked the mystery of oxytocin and its effect on instincts. The release of oxytocin in brain turned flight response into fight response.

Oxytocin also plays a role in social interaction and breastfeeding. The effect of oxytocin has also been linked to understanding autism, improving attention span and establishing social connections with others.

TO SUM IT UP

Animals either freeze or fight during a threatening situation. However, when their children are involved, mothers tend to keep their young ones close and fight back the intruder. A new research has established the reason behind this act lies in the release of oxytocin in the brain which prevents it from freezing. The results gave evidence that oxytocin triggered the defensive mechanism in the mothers for protection of their young ones.

The similar mechanism takes place in humans. The researchers are trying to find more about the relationship between oxytocin and social interaction. This would unveil more about the love between human child and mother.