A new study has found something that may upset those who do a lot of their catching up with loved ones over the internet: a mom's voice is less reassuring when it comes over IM.

Previous research had shown that young girls who'd just taken a stressful test were calmed by a phone conversation with their moms, just as much as they were by a hug. According to Wired, the same team has now looked at the effects of instant messaging. The researchers separated gave 64 7-12-year-old girls a stress-inducing math test, then divided them into four groups: one didn't talk to their moms at all, one IMed with them, one talked on the phone, and one met face-to-face. Those who talked on the phone or saw their moms in person experienced a drop in cortisol and a rise in oxytocin, hormonal changes that indicate a decrease in stress. But those who just IMed with their moms didn't experience such a change.

Study coauthor Leslie Seltzer says these findings indicate that it's a mom's voice, and not what she actually says, that calms her daughter down. She explains, "It doesn't matter how many smiley faces you put in your IM. It's not going to have the same effect as talking in person." This sounds like a pretty good reason to call your mom regularly โ€” and yes, actually call her. The only downside: you can't submit your conversation to Postcards from Yo Momma.

Power of Mom's Voice Scilenced by Instant Messages [Wired]

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