With sleepless nights and puzzling crying spells, caring for a newborn may seem like a mind numbing endeavor. But the mental abilities needed to keep a helpless, fussy infant alive may actually be the source of our smarts.
Huh, I’ve often said while raising young children “I’m not sure how the human race survived for so long when children clearly aren’t concerned with their own survival”… 😉
I’m more curious about the fact that I see screaming kids and my brain says “that looks unpleasant, I don’t want that, no kids for me”. Intelligence seems like it should be a barrier to reproduction. Yet, as a species, we keep having them…
Those are other people’s babies. To a certain extent, when it’s your baby, you are hardwired to love it, emphasize with it, feel sad, and try to help it. You also get the really nice stuff of watching your baby develop into a child and start maturing, and the bright spots really help compensate for the occasional issues. That’s until they become teens – then it’s war!
We know human screams are jarring. They’re loud, occasionally shrill, and tend to make us feel stressed, or even fearful. What’s unclear is why they elicit anxiety. But a new study suggests this response may have something to do with the acoustic quality of human screams, and how they trigger the brain’s fear response.
It’s a sound/frequency we do not experience in normal, everyday settings.
I remember a friend remarking about knowing the difference when her kids would scream, to tell when things were really bad or they were faking. Another instance I remember was someone telling me about knowing when they were hearing a “death rattle”, in rural areas where a given animal got injured bad enough. We communicate a lot through sound – say one thing, but our tone infers another.