Does Any Mother’s Body Odor Stimulate Interest in Mother’s Face in 4‐Month‐Old Infants?

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Little is known about the effects of olfaction on visual processing during infancy. We investigated whether and how an infant's own mother's body odor or another mother's body odor affects 4‐month‐old infants’ looking at their mother's face when it is paired with a stranger's face. In Experiment 1, infants were exposed to their mother's body odor or to a control odor, while in Experiment 2, infants were exposed to a stranger mother's body odor while their visual preferences were recorded. Results revealed that infants looked more at the stranger's female face in presence of the control odor but that they looked more at their mother's face in the context of any mother's body odors. This effect was due to a reduction of looking at the stranger's face. These findings suggest that infants react similarly to the body odor of any mother and add to the growing body of evidence indicating that olfactory stimulation represents a pervasive aspect of infant multisensory perception.



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