TORONTO: Parents, take note! A baby's cry not only commands your attention, it can also rattle your executive functions - the neural and cognitive processes used for making everyday decisions, according to a new study.
"Parental instinct appears to be hardwired, yet no one talks about how this instinct might include cognition," said David Haley, associate professor of psychology at University of Toronto.
The study looked at the effect infant vocalisations - in this case audio clips of a baby laughing or crying - had on adults completing a cognitive conflict task.
The researchers used the Stroop task, in which participants were asked to rapidly identify the colour of a printed word while ignoring the meaning of the word itself.
Brain activity was measured using electroencephalography (EEG) during each trial of the cognitive task, which took place immediately after a two-second audio clip of an infant vocalisation. continue reading...