Previous studies on whether having a baby affected your memory have showed mixed results, but new research might soon help bust this so-called ‘baby brain’ myth.
In a series of experiments, researchers analyzed information from two groups: 35 first-time mothers whose children
were aged 10 to 24 months, and 35 women who had never been pregnant (the control group).
To test their visuospatial memory, the women were shown a
paper containing six symbols for 10 seconds, and then asked to draw what
they remembered. This task was repeated several times. Both groups remembered about the same amount during the first round, but mothers performed better than
those without children during the second and third occasion, indicating that the mothers garnered more
information each time than the other women. In another test, the women were shown a variety of different symbols, and asked to
remember which ones were present on the earlier task. Again, the
mothers displayed a better memory.
The fact that the new mothers scored better on tests of visuospatial memory (the
ability to perceive and remember information about their surroundings) compared with women who didn’t have children might help counter the belief that women experience a
decline in memory and cognitive function after they have children.
Of course, these findings would need to be verified by testing a larger
sample of women of different ethnicities over a longer period of time before they can call it conclusive. The
findings have been presented during a meeting of the American