Researchers from Carlos Albizu University in Miami have found that new mother have better memory. The study findings contradict the old belief that women experience a decline in memory and cognitive function after having children. Unexpectedly getting absent-minded and scanty has long been seen as part and parcel of becoming a mother.
However, in fact, having a child may actually improve a woman’s memory. For their study Melissa Santiago and colleagues compared the information from thirty-five first-time mothers whose children were ten to twenty-four months and another thirty-five women who had never been pregnant. Women in both group scored similarly on aptitude tests.
In a bit to test visuospatial memory, the women were shown a paper containing six symbols for ten seconds, and then asked to draw what they remembered. This task was repeated several times. The first time women were shown the paper, women in both groups remembered about the same amount. But on the second and third times, mothers performed better than those without children.
It signifies that the mothers harvested more information each time than the women without children. Afterwards, the women were shown a variety of different symbols, and asked to remember which ones were present on the earlier task. Once more, the mothers exhibited a better memory. During pregnancy many physiological alterations occur in the body, and earlier study has suggested the brain even shrinks up to five percent.
But, the brain shrinkage returns to normal size six months after childbirth, besides during this time of re-growth, the brain re-maps itself in a manner that is accountable for the memory alterations shown in the study. Lead author Santiago, stated the findings would need to be verified by testing a larger sample of women of different ethnicities over a longer period of time.
The study findings will be presented in annual meeting of the American Psychological Association in the US.