Researchers at the University of Edinburgh have shown that the hormone vasopressin helps the brain differentiate between familiar and new scents.
The study, published in the journal Nature, suggests that when the hormone fails to function, animals are unable to recognise other individuals from their scent.
The ability to recognise others by smell is crucial in helping animals to establish strong bonds with other animals.
The research, funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), may offer clues about the way people make emotional connections with others through smell and deepen our understanding of the role scent plays in memory.
Many scientists think a failure in this recognition system in humans may prevent them from forming deep emotional bonds with others.
It is thought that it may be at the root of conditions such as some forms of autism and social phobia.
Researchers, including scientists in Germany and Japan, reached their conclusion by studying the way rats familiarise themselves with other rats through smell.
They placed an adult rat in an enclosure with a baby rat and left them to sniff and interact with each other.
After a short separation, they placed the baby back in the adult's enclosure, together with an unknown baby.
Adult rats whose vasopressin had been blocked failed to recognise the baby they had already met.
Professor Mike Ludwig, who led the study at the University of Edinburgh, said: "This study gives us a window into understanding the biological basis of social interactions.
It may be that vasopressin helps to filter sensory information according to its emotional significance."
Professor Janet Allen, BBSRC Director of Research said, "Research that helps us to gain a fundamental understanding of how our brains work is vital if we are to know what is happening when something has gone wrong. The biological basis of psychological responses can often be extremely complicated, so finding this direct relationship between a hormone and a psycho-social phenomenon could open up a whole wealth of knowledge in this area."
Tara Womersley | EurekAlert!
Symbiotic bacteria: from hitchhiker to beetle bodyguard
28.04.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Nose2Brain – Better Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis
28.04.2017 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Grenzflächen- und Bioverfahrenstechnik IGB
More and more automobile companies are focusing on body parts made of carbon fiber reinforced plastics (CFRP). However, manufacturing and repair costs must be further reduced in order to make CFRP more economical in use. Together with the Volkswagen AG and five other partners in the project HolQueSt 3D, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) has developed laser processes for the automatic trimming, drilling and repair of three-dimensional components.
Automated manufacturing processes are the basis for ultimately establishing the series production of CFRP components. In the project HolQueSt 3D, the LZH has...
Reflecting the structure of composites found in nature and the ancient world, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have synthesized thin carbon nanotube (CNT) textiles that exhibit both high electrical conductivity and a level of toughness that is about fifty times higher than copper films, currently used in electronics.
"The structural robustness of thin metal films has significant importance for the reliable operation of smart skin and flexible electronics including...
The nearby, giant radio galaxy M87 hosts a supermassive black hole (BH) and is well-known for its bright jet dominating the spectrum over ten orders of magnitude in frequency. Due to its proximity, jet prominence, and the large black hole mass, M87 is the best laboratory for investigating the formation, acceleration, and collimation of relativistic jets. A research team led by Silke Britzen from the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy in Bonn, Germany, has found strong indication for turbulent processes connecting the accretion disk and the jet of that galaxy providing insights into the longstanding problem of the origin of astrophysical jets.
Supermassive black holes form some of the most enigmatic phenomena in astrophysics. Their enormous energy output is supposed to be generated by the...
The probability to find a certain number of photons inside a laser pulse usually corresponds to a classical distribution of independent events, the so-called...
Microprocessors based on atomically thin materials hold the promise of the evolution of traditional processors as well as new applications in the field of flexible electronics. Now, a TU Wien research team led by Thomas Müller has made a breakthrough in this field as part of an ongoing research project.
Two-dimensional materials, or 2D materials for short, are extremely versatile, although – or often more precisely because – they are made up of just one or a...
28.04.2017 | Event News
20.04.2017 | Event News
18.04.2017 | Event News
28.04.2017 | Medical Engineering
28.04.2017 | Earth Sciences
28.04.2017 | Life Sciences