Scientific article

Olfactory Familiarization and Discrimination in Preterm and Full-Term Newborns

Published inInfancy, vol. 3, no. 1, p. 53-75
Publication date2002-01-01
First online date2002-01-01

The purpose of this study was to observe olfactory detection and discrimination in preterm and full-term newborns. Infants were familiarized for 10 trials with either vanillin or anethole. On each trial, a cotton swab perfumed with one of the odors was slowly moved in front of the baby's nose for 10 sec. For half of the preterm and full-term infants, a new odor was presented after the last familiarization trial (experimental groups). For the other half, the same odor as during familiarization was presented (control groups). Facial and head movements for both populations and heart rates for preterm infants were recorded before, during, and after odor presentation. Preterm infants reacted to the scents by increasing facial actions and heart rate but not head movements. Full-term infants increased facial and head movements. Neither population showed a clear behavioral habituation pattern, but full-term newborns had a significantly reduced facial reactivity on the last familiarization trial compared to preterm infants. Preterm newborns did, however, show cardiac habituation on the last familiarization trial. Preterm and full-term infants presented with a new odor after familiarization increased responding compared to infants presented with the same odor, indicating their ability to discriminate between 2 odors. Infants' reactivity and discrimination to odors indicate preterm and full-term newborns' ability to be attuned to their olfactory environment.

Citation (ISO format)
GOUBET, Nathalie et al. Olfactory Familiarization and Discrimination in Preterm and Full-Term Newborns. In: Infancy, 2002, vol. 3, n° 1, p. 53–75. doi: 10.1207/S15327078IN0301_3
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal1525-0008

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