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New York University
Smell the fear: Mother's odor teaches young to be scared, study says
Smell the fear: Mother's odor teaches young to be scared, study says

How is it that a child of a Holocaust survivor can suffer nightmares or flashbacks from experiences they never had, or that a parent with pathological fears can pass them along to a child? In a paper published Monday in the journal PNAS, researchers argue that odor is just one of the cues that mothers use to "teach" their offspring about what they need to fear in a dangerous world. While such maternal cues are intended to help offspring adapt to their environment, they can also cause problems if the caregiver suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder, the authors say. "Infants can learn from maternal expression of fear, very early in life," said Dr. Jacek...