You're Probably More Like Your Mom Than You Want To Admit

Photographed By Lani Trock.
You swore you'd never dress like your mom or pull that kind of trick in the middle of an argument. But, sorry to say, it looks like you may have more in common with her than you think: New research suggests that some traits are more readily passed down from moms to daughters than sons.

For the study, published online this week in The Journal of Neuroscience, researchers looked at brain scans of people from 35 families with children between the ages of 5-13. This included 30 mothers, 29 fathers, 19 daughters, and 20 sons. The researchers also gave the parents questionnaires that asked about their kids' behavior, including things like aggression, depression, anxiety, and social skills.

Their results showed that one circuit within the participants' brains, which is involved in regulating emotions, tended to be pretty similar between mothers and daughters. But, interestingly, that similarity wasn't anywhere near as strong between moms and sons, between fathers and daughters, or between fathers and sons. So it seems like there's something gender-specific about the way women develop this pattern of brain circuitry. However, there were no differences in the children's reported behavior in relation to these brain differences, so it's unclear how these passed on brain traits might translate into daily life.

There's already a ton of research showing how common mental health conditions, like depression and anxiety, are among people whose parents also have them. And we know that both depression and anxiety are more commonly diagnosed in women than men. With more research, this inherited circuitry could partially explain the way we develop our emotional responses similarly to our mothers.

Until then, just know that you're probably more like your mom than you'd like to admit. And that's totally okay.

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