Unsplash | Annie Spratt

Study Shows Grandmothers Are More In Tune With Their Grandchildren Than Their Own Kids

Is there anything on earth that grandmothers can't do? They are the keepers of secrets, the bakers of cookies, and the proverbial ray of sunshine that lights the world.

On top of all that they do, it turns out that there may also be some scientific benefits to having your grandmother around. And it comes with the realization that your parents love your kid more than they love you.

Grandmas truly are the salt of the earth.

Unsplash | Ekaterina Shakharova

When we're young, it's our parents' job to set boundaries for us. In a similar fashion, it is the job of any grandmother worth her mettle to push those boundaries to their breaking point.

The kindred relationship between a grandmother and her grandchildren is a special one.

Unsplash | Tiago Muraro

According to a recent study, it may be even more special than was previously thought. It turns out that a grandmother's love for her grandchildren is so strong, that you can actually see it in the brain.

The study was conducted by a team of researchers at Emory University.

Scientists gathered up 50 grandmothers, all of who had at least one grandchild between the ages of three and 12. Then, they rigged the grannies to an MRI machine in order to see how their brains would respond to certain images.

They began showing the grandmothers' images of their grandchildren as well as their adult children.

Unsplash | Ainara Oto

They also threw in some pictures of random adults and kids. What they discovered was truly remarkable: whenever the grandmothers saw pictures of their grandchildren, their brains began to light up.

Lead author of the study, James Rilling, explained grandmas elicit high levels of emotional empathy.

"That suggests that grandmothers are geared toward feeling what their grandchildren are feeling when they interact with them," James said in a press release.

When the grandmothers were shown pictures of their own children, the "cognitive empathy" was far less.

Unsplash | CDC

While there was still a recognizable response, it didn't cause the same level of emotional activation in the brain. The study also suggested that the grandmothers were experiencing the emotions of their grandchildren right along with them.

"If their grandchild is smiling, they're feeling the child's joy," Rillings began.

"And if their grandchild is crying, they're feeling the child's pain and distress," he said. This type of behavior gives credence to something that researchers have come to know as "The Grandmother Hypothesis."

"The Grandmother Hypothesis" is nothing new — it's been around since the 1960s.

Unsplash | Annie Spratt

"The Grandmother Hypothesis" argues that one of the biggest reasons why women tend to live longer than men is an innate desire to fulfill their maternal role as grandmothers.

It might sound far-fetched, but "The Grandmother Hypothesis" isn't without merit.

Studies have shown that elderly women who eat alone put themselves at far greater risk of contracting heart disease, compared to those who eat in groups or with their families.

There are also studies that suggest a grandmother's presence can be mutually beneficial for the grandchild as well.

Unsplash | Ainara Oto

Having an active and engaged grandmother in your life has been proven to boost overall emotional well-being as well as help to improve the educational upbringing of a child.

The same can be said for having a strong and active Grandpa around, too.

There you have it — concrete proof that your parents love your kid more than they love you. It stings, I know, but don't let it get you down.

Instead, try and think of yourself as the facilitator of the most incredible, heartfelt bond that either of them will ever know.