When my wife was pregnant, I read in several parenting books that men connect with their babies primarily via smell and that women tend to react more strongly to sound. In our very small sample size of one, I’d say that rang true for our family. To this day, I still find myself smelling my friend’s and family’s babies.
This new research says that it might be because the baby’s smell makes me feel calm and docile and lowers my aggression. As someone who suffers from anxiety and temper control, this is likely an extremely soothing stimulus/response cycle for me.
As that article points out, this kind of research is very hard to reproduce and prone to many kinds of biases. Also, just because something feels right doesn’t mean it is right. Confirmation bias is one of the strongest biases. It also seems like this leans in to certain gender narratives that we have which haven’t really been borne out by serious research.
But, I’m no scientist. Just a storyteller and an actor. So, this kind of thing sticks in my head as a detail that sits below the actions of any character I might write or portray. File this one away as character background.