Study: Mom's Fears Passed to Newborns Through Smell
Mothers who have specific fears and anxieties may inadvertently pass them along to their days-old newborns through an unlikely method--smell. A new study published in the journal Proceedings National Academy of Sciences tested the role of smell in fear transfer by exposing rats to mild shocks while they were in an environment scented with peppermint oil. Later, the same rats gave birth, and the pups' fear responses were tested, measuring the activity of the part of the brain called the amygdala, when they were exposed to the same scent. The pups, the study found, showed a fear reaction at the mere whiff of peppermint.
Image: Boy smells something bad, via Shutterstock