How does a mother’s scent impact emotion perception in babies?

Finally – we have the first results from our odor study. We invited 91 babies (and their moms) from Lübeck and the surrounding area to the lab to test how the mother’s familiar scent would impact the babies’ response to emotional, in particular fearful, faces. 7-month-olds typically show an enhanced EEG response to fearful faces, and we wanted to see how this might change if the baby smells their mother, a different mother, or no particular smell. Interestingly, the babies who smelled a different mother or no particular scent showed the expected fear response, while this response was absent in the babies who could smell their mother. Hence, maternal odor seems to result in a reduction in the fear response of 7-month-old infants.

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