Background: It is known that emotion regulatory responses of humans are changed by the experiences they have, but in particular, they are changed by becoming a mother. A recent study has found how a woman's emotion regulatory response to a child's crying changes after becoming a mother. However, mothers' emotion regulatory responses other than those to children and the association between emotion regulatory response and parental stress are still unknown. Methods: Eighteen healthy Japanese females (nine mothers and nine non-mothers) participated in the experiment. They performed an emotional Go/Nogo task, with facial expressions of others (angry, happy, and neutral faces) used as emotional stimuli. The percentage of correct responses, response time, and event-related potentials (ERPs) during the task was measured. Results: This comparison revealed that the mother group had a larger P3 (Nogo-P3) amplitude than the non-mother group when Nogo trials were held. This indicates that in mothers, there was greater activation of the behavioral inhibition-related brain areas than in non-mother women when they inhibited inappropriate behavior following recognition of facial expressions of others. In addition, in the mother group, there was a negative correlation between parental stress levels and Nogo-P3 amplitudes evoked by angry faces. This suggests that there is a relation between the level of parental stress of mothers and their emotion regulatory responses to angry faces. Conclusions: Our results demonstrate that mothers' emotion regulatory processes may differ from those of non-mothers in response, not only to a child's crying but also to expressions of emotions by others, and also suggest that the inhibitory recognition activity of mothers can be affected by parental stress.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Human Factors and Ergonomics
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Physiology (medical)