Preparation for fatherhood: A role for olfactory communication during human pregnancy?

08:00 EDT 9th April 2019 | BioPortfolio

Summary of "Preparation for fatherhood: A role for olfactory communication during human pregnancy?"

There is evidence across a range of bi-parental species that physiological changes may occur in partnered males prior to the birth of an infant. It has been hypothesised that these hormonal changes might facilitate care-giving behaviours, which could augment infant survival. The mechanism that induces these changes has not been identified, but evidence from several species suggests that odour may play a role. The current study investigated this in humans by recording testosterone and psychological measures related to infant interest and care in men (n = 91) both before and after exposure to odours from either pregnant women or non-pregnant control women. We found no evidence for effect of odour cues of pregnancy on psychological measures including self-reported sociosexual orientation and social dominance scores, ratings of adult faces, or testosterone levels. However, we found that brief exposure to post-partum odours significantly increased the reward value of infant faces. Our study is the first to show that the odour of peri-partum women may lead to upregulation of men's interest in infants.


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This article was published in the following journal.

Name: Physiology & behavior
ISSN: 1873-507X


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Medical and Biotech [MESH] Definitions

Set of nerve fibers conducting impulses from olfactory receptors to the cerebral cortex. It includes the OLFACTORY NERVE; OLFACTORY BULB; olfactory tract, olfactory tubercle, anterior perforated substance, and olfactory cortex. The term rhinencephalon is restricted to structures in the CNS receiving fibers from the olfactory bulb.

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The 1st cranial nerve. The olfactory nerve conveys the sense of smell. It is formed by the axons of OLFACTORY RECEPTOR NEURONS which project from the olfactory epithelium (in the nasal epithelium) to the OLFACTORY BULB.

Ovoid body resting on the cribriform plate of the ethmoid bone where the olfactory nerve terminates. The olfactory bulb contains several types of nerve cells including the mitral cells, on whose dendrites the olfactory nerve synapses, forming the olfactory glomeruli. The accessory olfactory bulb, which receives the projection from the VOMERONASAL ORGAN via the vomeronasal nerve, is also included here.

That portion of the nasal mucosa containing the sensory nerve endings for SMELL, located at the dome of each NASAL CAVITY. The yellow-brownish olfactory epithelium consists of OLFACTORY RECEPTOR NEURONS; brush cells; STEM CELLS; and the associated olfactory glands.

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