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Why do you want to eat the baby?
Date:9/22/2013

y because of the pleasure associated with a given behaviour. "This circuit makes us desire certain foods and causes addiction to tobacco and other drugs," says the researcher. "Not all odours trigger this reaction. Only those associated with reward, such as food or satisfying a desire, cause this activation."

Dopamine is also associated with sexual pleasure and other forms of gratification. Laboratory rats whose dopamine levels are stimulated by electrodes become so addicted that they stop eating.

For the research team, these results show that the odour of newborns undoubtedly plays a role in the development of motivational and emotional responses between mother and child by eliciting maternal care functions such as breastfeeding and protection. The mother-child bond that is part of the feeling of maternal love is a product of evolution through natural selection in an environment where such a bond is essential for the newborn's survival.

Questions remain

The experiment, however, did not allow determining whether the greater activation of the dopaminergic system in mothers is due to an organic response related to childbirth itself or whether it is a consequence of the olfactory experience developed by mothers with their own babies. "It is possible that childbirth causes hormonal changes that alter the reward circuit in the caudate nucleus, but it is also possible that experience plays a role," says Frasnelli.

It is also not known whether this reaction is specific to mothers, since men were not part of the experiment. "What we know now and what is new is that there is a neural response linked to the status of biological mother," he says.


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Contact: William Raillant-Clark
w.raillant-clark@umontreal.ca
514-343-7593
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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