A new study shows that growing up without a father not only affects behavior – it transforms children’s brain structure. Researchers studied the behavior and brains of Californian mice who, like humans, are monogamous and raise their children as a unit. Mice separated from their fathers showed greater aggression, anti-social behavior, and “abnormal social interactions” than those raised with both parents. “The behavioral deficits we observed are consistent with human studies of children raised without a father,” said Dr. Gabriella Gobbi, the report’s lead author. However, more groundbreaking was their finding that the behavior was not the only thing affected by the lack of a father. Mice raised by one parent had a misshapen prefrontal cortex, the portion of the brain associated with behavior, decision-making, and problem solving. The report states, “Our results emphasize the importance of the father during critical neurodevelopmental periods, and that father absence induces impairments in social behavior that persist to adulthood.”
Read the rest of the study’s findings here.
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