Mum’s voice as comforting as a cuddle

Study shows even a phone call can have the same hormone effect as a hug from mum

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The sound of a mum’s voice can have the same comforting level to a child as a cuddle, a new study by the University of Wisconsin-Madison has found.

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Researchers put 60 girls aged 7-12 in a stressful situation, making them do an impromptu speech and add up sums in front of strangers, and monitored their hormonal responses when they were hugged or phoned by their mum afterwards.

Their mum’s voice was found to produce the same amount of the stress-busting hormone oxytocin as a cuddle by their mum.

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Dr Leslie Seltzer, who led the study, said the results were surprising as it was previously thought the release of oxytocin required physical contact. “It’s clear from these results that a mother’s voice can have the same effect as a hug, even if they’re not standing there,” he concluded.

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