Fun fact 4: MRI captures bond between mother and child

Studies show that people feel safer when they are with people they know. And this happens well before you’ve learned to say “hello” to them. A stunning example can be seen in the form of an MRI scan, which was taken by a group of researchers at MIT. They performed MRI scans on four to six-month-old babies, using specially modified MRI machines.

As the scans were taken, the babies were shown videos. These included footage of other children smiling and street scenes which did not contain people. It seems that the babies’ brains lit up differently when they saw faces – thus proving that even very young babies know the difference between people and inanimate objects.


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A touching image of the key researcher and her own baby was captured during this study. As the first MRI scan taken of a mother and child, it shows “a powerful symbol of love and innocence, beauty and fertility.”

About the author of this fun fact:

Eleanor Shakiba is a positive psychology trainer. Her passion is working with positive deviants – the people in communities and organisations who break paradigms and build new solutions to entrenched problems. Eleanor is the author of the Positive Psychology Toolkit for HR and L&D practitioners. She also runs a range of specialist retreats and workshops for trainers and facilitators.