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August 1958

A Study of the Development of Olfactory Preferences

Author Affiliations


AMA Arch NeurPsych. 1958;80(2):264-266. doi:10.1001/archneurpsyc.1958.02340080134028

The sense of smell is present at birth and plays an important role in communication between infant and mother. Independent of the mother's aid, the infant turns its head to the mother's breast at each feeding. This movement is apparently in part stimulated by the odor of the milk.1 Odors are intimately involved in the phase of development concerned with excretory functions, and, at a later age, play a part in the genital phase of psychosexual development.

In early childhood it has been observed that all variety of objects are tasted and smelled, and usually no avertive response to odorous substances is apparent. Quite often a child may derive pleasing olfactory sensations from things which later in life, as an adult, are perceived as unpleasant. There have been many experimental investigations of adult olfactory preferences2-4; however, the development of these preferences has received relatively little attention. The investigation

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