- Science! July 29
A new study at the University of Michigan Medical School found that infants may be able to detect their mothers' fear — through smell.
The study, published in the journal Proceedings in the National Academy of Sciences, suggests that infants, or at least infant rats, recognize their mothers' feelings of being threatened by identifying certain smells.
"Our research demonstrates that infants can learn from maternal expression of fear, very early in life," lead researcher Jacek Debiec told Business Standard. "Most importantly, these maternally-transmitted memories are long-lived, whereas other types of infant learning, if not repeated, rapidly perish."
The researchers studied rats that they taught to fear the smell of peppermint by "exposing them to mild, unpleasant electric shocks" before they were pregnant, according to Business Standard. The mother rats then passed the fear along to their offspring as they acted distressed at the smell.
Debiec told Business Standard that the study's findings may help "prevent children from learning irrational or harmful fear responses from their mothers."- -
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The U.S. is about to sell weapons to Vietnam. That's bad news for China.
- Why is the Pentagon stuffing caves in Norway full of tanks?
- What the Middle Ages can tell us about the GOP's big charity myth
- An open letter to #brands about Gamergate
- Did the media get Ferguson wrong?
- The most sensible GOP alternative to ObamaCare comes from a Senate candidate who is almost sure to lose
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- 'Having it all' has officially jumped the shark
- Did Republicans overshoot on the Ebola panic?
- 10 things you need to know today: October 23, 2014
Subscribe to the Week