(NEW YORK) — Ever heard someone holding a newborn saying, “You’re just so cute I want to eat you up?” A new Canadian study shows newborn babies really do smell good — especially to new moms — and that expression may be rooted in biology.
Scientists say newborn baby smells trigger a surge of dopamine that’s similar to the response that comes when you satisfy a craving for food.
In the small study that looked at both new moms and women who had never had kids, the women smelled odors from the undershirts of 18 different infants, but weren’t told what the smell was.
While both groups rated the baby fragrance as pleasant, MRI’s from the new moms showed greater activity in the part of their brain linked to reward.
The study authors say that because men were not included in the study, they can’t be certain that the reaction is specific to women.
The study’s findings are published in this month’s online issue of Frontiers in Psychology.
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