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Family members get on your nerves? It's primal

Tuesday - 12/30/2008, 7:38am  ET

UNDATED -- Do you have that love-hate thing going on every holiday you spend with your family at the holidays? Does your sister or brother just get on your nerves? Perhaps, it's your mom.

New research looks at brain activity and suggests that feelings about biological relatives are at least somewhat primal. It compares how people view relatives, compared with friends and strangers.

It might explain why relatives get on your nerves, says researcher Steven Platek, who co-authored the study with Shelly Kemp.

Relatives light up an a self-referential part of the brain, which is why they spark feelings of trust.

At the same time, friends and strangers light up the areas linked to making important and risky decisions with respect to the self.

The findings are in the journal "Neuropsychologia."

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