The scent of newborn babies or babies of just a few weeks activates the pleasure centers of the brain in new mothers: this is the conclusion reached by a team of researchers from the University of Montreal in Canada. The effect of the smell of the very young thus creates a bond between mother and children that responds to the biological needs of the newborn: to attract someone to take care of him. This is the thesis supported in the report just published in the scientific journal Frontiers in psychology.
For the survey, the researchers analyzed the reactions of 30 women - 15 of them had given birth two weeks earlier and 15 had never had children - to the smell of babies or simple fresh air.
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The reactions were observed while the volunteers underwent a brain scan and were exposed to the different 'perfumes': all the women showed an 'activation' of the brain area linked to the sensations of pleasure during exposure to the perfume of the very little ones.
But for the new mothers, the activation was decidedly more intense and lasting. Some test mothers described the experience of sniffing a newborn as equivalent to 'taking a medicine that acts as a muscle relaxant and gives a feeling of well-being'.
"What are involved in the reaction to the smell of very young children are the same brain areas that respond when they finally have to eat after hours of fasting - explained the author of the research, Johannes Frasnelli - or when a drug addict finally has the drug of he feels the need ". "Nature - concludes the report - has evidently endowed women with a tool that helps the bond between the mother and the newborn child when the child needs attention for the very survival".
According to Frasnelli, probably, the same phenomenon occurs in the brains of men who have become fathers. But this will be the subject of a new study.
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- newborn smell
- newborn 0-3 months