Smell of new mothers’ SWEAT helps their partners to bond with babies
Smell of new mothers’ SWEAT helps their partners to bond with their babies and become better fathers, researchers reveal
- Men who have smelled the sweat of a woman who recently gave birth are believed to be more interested in their babies
- Believed body odour can induce the psychological and behavioural changes
- New evidence comes from researchers at Newcastle and Stirling Universities
New mothers may be giving off a smell that helps their partners to bond with their baby, researchers has revealed.
Scientist from the Universities of Newcastle and Stirling claim that the scent of a woman can ‘hijack’ a man’s senses in order to turn them into a better father.
The study recruited 55 men to sniff sweat samples from cotton pads attached to the clothing of a group of women, some of whom had given birth within the past six to ten months.
Researchers have claimed new mothers may be giving off a smell that helps their partners to bond with their baby according to a new study in to the psychological behaviour of men (stock photo)
Another five women, who were childless and using a hormonal contraception, also gave odour samples for the research.
The men were then split into three groups, two to smell the different odours and a third who were given no odour at all.
After sniffing the pads repeatedly over a period of ten minutes, the men then completed a computer task of looking at men’s, women’s and babies’ faces, and could choose how long they looked at each photo.
Researchers found that the men exposed to post-pregnancy odours chose to look at the babies’ faces for longer than the men in the other groups.
Men exposed to post-pregnancy odours chose to look at the babies’ faces for longer than the men in the other groups, the researchers found (stock photo)
‘Our findings can be seen as providing the first evidence that brief exposure to post-pregnancy females’ body odour is sufficient to induce psychological and behavioural changes related to infant care,’ researchers from Newcastle University and the University of Stirling said.
Caroline Allen, from Newcastle University, said that men could be responding to the post-pregnancy scents because it has increased the chances of their babies’ survival.
‘Obviously nowadays we have lots of babies who are raised well in single-parent households, but for our ancestors having two parents to look after a child would have been important for improving their chances of surviving,’ she said.
The findings fit in with previous research showing that among new fathers who take part in childrearing testosterone levels drop as they become more attuned to cues such as a baby’s cry.
Instead of wanting to gaze deeply into the eyes of their romantic love, researchers discovered that the men had clearly turned their attentions to the next generation.
The latest research was published in the journal Physiology & Behaviour.
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