Subjects were able to communicate emotions to one another using only perspiration.
PROBLEM: Some animals can communicate their emotional states through chemical signals called chemosignals. Can human animals do so as well?
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METHODOLOGY: Researcher Gün Semin and company at Utrecht University in the Netherlands induced strong feelings in their subjects by showing them fear- or disgust-inducing films, then collected and froze their armpit sweat . The 10 male "sweat donors" had been decontaminated in the days leading up to the experiment by avoiding smoking, exercise, strong-smelling foods, and alcohol. The researchers then exposed their 36 female subjects -- all of whom met the threshold for having a normal sense of smell -- to the men's defrosted, fear or disgust-containing perspiration. The women's facial expressions and eye movements were carefully monitored as they completed a visual search task.
Worth noting: The women, who were tasked with smelling the men's sweat, were paid less than half of what the men received for their participation. A wage gap.
RESULTS: To a significant extent, receivers produced the same "facial-muscle configuration" made by the senders: The women who had been exposed to "fear sweat" reflected that fear in their faces, while those exposed to "disgust sweat" displayed facial expressions indicating revulsion.