Good morning, fellow bloggers! Here’s your Geek Science for the day.
While it is common knowledge that animals can smell fear due to chemicals we emit from our sweat, new research shows that those chemical compounds, also known as “chemosignals,” may also convey positive emotions.
“Our study shows that being exposed to sweat produced under happiness induces a simulacrum of happiness in receivers, and induces a contagion of the emotional state,” explains psychological scientist Gün Semin of Utrecht University in the Netherlands, senior researcher on the study. “This suggests that somebody who is happy will infuse others in their vicinity with happiness. In a way, happiness sweat is somewhat like smiling — it is infectious.”
For their research, scientists recruited 12 sweaty men and 36 women with noses and a willingness to take a whiff. Samples were taken from the men, and then introduced to the women at a later time, in a scientific lab setting of course.
Facial expression data taken from the female subjects revealed that those exposed to “fear sweat” showed greater activity in the medial frontalis muscle, a common feature of fear expressions. And those exposed to “happy sweat” showed more facial muscle activity indicative of a Duchenne smile, a common component of happiness expressions.
These findings, according to the researchers, suggest a “behavioral synchronization” between the sender (the sweat donor) and receiver (the sweat smeller).
So what have we learned today, kiddies? Sniff a pit and get your happy on? My one question is this: “Who in the hell volunteers for these kinds of studies?! Reminds me of another study I read about several years ago regarding underarm odor, whereby researchers found that women’s underarms typically smell like onions, while men’s smell like cheese.
I’m always amazed at what scientists will study, and often confounded as to what their reasoning is.
As for me, I’ll keep using deodorant, okay?