Being exposed to arguments between parents is associated with the way babies' brains process emotional tone of voice, according to a new study...
... infants respond to angry tone of voice, even when they're asleep.
"Even during sleep, infants showed distinct patterns of brain activity depending on the emotional tone of voice we presented," says Graham.
The researchers found that infants from high conflict homes showed greater reactivity to very angry tone of voice in brain areas linked to stress and emotion regulation, such as the anterior cingulate cortex, caudate, thalamus, and hypothalamus.
Previous research with animals has shown that these brain areas play an important role in the impact of early life stress on development -- the results of this new study suggest that the same might be true for human infants.
... these findings show that babies are not oblivious to their parents' conflicts, and exposure to these conflicts may influence the way babies' brains process emotion and stress.