Skip to Main content Skip to Navigation
Journal articles

Learning at the breast: Preference formation for an artificial scent and its attraction against the odor of maternal milk

Abstract : Human newborns are known to display spontaneous attraction to the odor of human milk. This study aimed to assess whether the positive response to human milk odor can be explained by nursing-related learning, and whether it can be easily reassigned to a novel odor associated with nursing. Infants were exposed or not to a novel odor (camomile, Ca) during nursing, and tested on day 3–4 for their preference for camomile in comparison with either a scentless control (Exp. 1), a scented control (Exp. 2), or maternal milk (Exp. 3). Prior experience with Ca modified the newborns’ responses. While the Ca odor became more attractive than a scented control in the Ca-exposed group, the Ca-non-exposed group did not differentiate either stimulus. In Exp. 3, the Ca-non-exposed group preferred the milk odor to the Ca odor, whereas the Ca-exposed group displayed on average equal attraction to both stimuli. Thus, a novel odor can be learned at the breast, and gain similar attractive power than the odor of mother’s milk. In sum, reinforcements related with the early episodes of breastfeeding mediate the rapid development of novel odor preferences in human infants.
Complete list of metadata

https://hal-normandie-univ.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03266261
Contributor : Maryse Delaunay Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Monday, June 21, 2021 - 3:44:52 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, November 25, 2021 - 9:34:02 AM

Identifiers

Citation

Maryse Delaunay-El Allam, Luc Marlier, Benoist Schaal. Learning at the breast: Preference formation for an artificial scent and its attraction against the odor of maternal milk. Infant Behavior and Development, Elsevier, 2006, 29 (3), pp.308-321. ⟨10.1016/j.infbeh.2005.12.008⟩. ⟨hal-03266261⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

29