Fears can be inherited through smell

See the original posting on The Verge

When researchers look at trauma, they don’t just look at the lives of those who experience traumatic events. Often, they turn their attention to offspring, because numerous studies, some conducted on the children of Holocaust survivors, have shown that parents can pass symptoms of trauma onto their kids. This is called “intergenerational trauma,” and although it’s been described in academic literature, researchers still don’t fully understand how it occurs. One idea is that symptoms like anxiety and depression can be passed down through changes in gene expression in sperm. But what of specific fears, like a fear of dentists? How do they make their way into the psyche?

According to a new study, published today in Proceedings of the…

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