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Is maternal instinct a myth Mothers and fathers are EQUALLY good at recognising their baby's cry
A parent's ability to identify their baby's cry is determined by the amount of time they spend with the child, not by their gender
09:21 GMT, 17 April 2013
12:45 GMT, 17 April 2013
Maternal instinct may not be all that it is cracked up to be, according to new research.
French scientists have discovered that mothers and fathers are equally good at identifying the cry of their baby.
The researchers, from the University of Saint-Etienne, found that the ability of a parent to identify their child’s cry was determined by the amount of time they spend with the baby, not by their gender.
Mothers and fathers are equally good at identifying the cry of their baby, new research has shown
WHAT DID THE RESEARCHERS FIND
Mothers and fathers are equally good at recognising their baby's cry.
The ability of a parent to identify their baby's cry is determined by the amount of time they spend with the child, not by their gender.
According to Medical Xpress the team, led by Professor Nicolas Mathevon, recorded the cries of 29 different babies between the age of 58 and 153-days-old.
Of the 29 babies, 15 were in France and 14 were in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The researchers hoped that carrying out the research in both France and Africa would allow them to establish whether culture affects a parent’s ability to recognise their baby’s cry.
The parents were played a recording of cries from five babies, one of which was their own, and were asked to identify which was their child.
Overall, the parents managed to identify their child correctly 90 per cent of times.
However, the mothers were right 98 per cent of times and fathers who spent a lot of time with their child were right 90 per cent of the time.
By contrast, fathers who were with their child for less than four hours a day were only able to identify their cry 75 per cent of times.
The ability of a parent to identify their child's cry is determined by the amount of time they spend with the baby, not by their gender
The research, which was published in the journal Nature Communications, argues that previous studies which developed the idea of ‘maternal instinct’ were flawed as they did not take into consideration the amount of time each parent spends with their child.
According to Medical Xpress, the researchers wrote: ‘Both fathers and mothers can reliably and equally recognise their own baby from their cries.
‘The only crucial factor affecting this ability is the amount of time spent by the parent with their own baby.’