Navigation Links
Rice psychologist explores perception of fear in human sweat
Date:3/6/2009

When threatened, many animals release chemicals as a warning signal to members of their own species, who in turn react to the signals and take action. Research by Rice University psychologist Denise Chen suggests a similar phenomenon occurs in humans. Given that more than one sense is typically involved when humans perceive information, Chen studied whether the smell of fear facilitates humans' other stronger senses.

Chen and graduate student Wen Zhou collected "fearful sweat" samples from male volunteers. The volunteers kept gauze pads in their armpits while they were shown films that dealt with topics known to inspire fear.

Later, female volunteers were exposed to chemicals from the "fearful sweat" when they were fitted with a piece of gauze under their nostrils. They then viewed images of faces that morphed from happy to ambiguous to fearful. They were asked to indicate whether the face was happy or fearful by pressing buttons on a computer.

Exposure to the smell of fear biased women toward interpreting facial expressions as more fearful, but only when the expressions were ambiguous. It had no effect when the facial emotions were more discernable.

Chen's conclusion is consistent with what's been found with processing emotions in both the face and the voice. There, an emotion from one sense modulates how the same emotion is perceived in another sense, especially when the signal to the latter sense is ambiguous.

"Our findings provide direct behavioral evidence that human sweat contains emotional meanings," Chen said. "They also demonstrate that social smells modulate vision in an emotion-specific way."

Smell is a prevalent form of social communication in many animals, but its function in humans is enigmatic. Humans have highly developed senses of sight and hearing. Why do we still need olfaction? Findings by Chen and Zhou offer insight on this topic. "The sense of smell guides our social perception when the more-dominant senses are weak," Chen said.


'/>"/>

Contact: David Ruth
druth@rice.edu
713-348-6327
Rice University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Rice University psychologist finds womens brains recognize, encode smell of male sexual sweat
2. New report explores tourisms impact on rural Alaska community
3. Research explores role of hydrogen peroxide in cell health
4. International symposium explores fire suppression economics
5. Technical report explores role of lichens as bioindicators
6. Book explores global implications of wildland fire smoke
7. Defying the disaster: Researcher explores resilient housing
8. Genetic variant linked to odor perception
9. Saving face with a baby-face? Shape of CEOs face affects public perception
10. Minds eye influences visual perception
11. Study reveals homeowner perceptions in fire-prone areas
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:1/19/2017)... Oregon and PUNE, India , January 19, 2017 ... Research, titled, "Global Biometric Sensor Market, Opportunities and Forecast, 2014 - 2022," ... growing at a CAGR of 9.6% from 2016 to 2022. In 2015, ... owing to high-level security for both public and private sectors. ... ...
(Date:1/19/2017)... 2017 Sensory Inc ., a ... for consumer electronics, and i nnerCore ... cybersecurity solutions, today announced a global partnership that ... worldwide to bolster security of data sensitive mobile ... authentication platforms they offer, innerCore now offers its ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... 18, 2017  In vitro diagnostic (IVD) companies were ... acquisitions (M&A), and Kalorama Information expects that trend to ... been shifting. Generally, uncertainty in reimbursement and healthcare reform ... has changed the acquisitions landscape. Instead of looking to ... buying partners outside of their home country and also ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/18/2017)... 2017 Applied BioMath ( www.appliedbiomath.com ), ... research and development, today announced that Dr. ... of Applied BioMath, will present at the next ... Meeting on Thursday January 19, 2017 at the ... MA.   Dr. Burke,s talk "Quantitative Modeling and Simulation ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... ... Leven successfully implanted SpineFrontier’s A-CIFT™ Solofuse-P™. The operation took place on Wednesday, January ... NY. The procedure was an anterior cervical discectomy and fusion on a 42 ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... MYOLYN, which creates medical technology ... a 510(k) to the FDA, requesting clearance of the MyoCycle Home and the ... technology. , The submission marks a major milestone for the technology startup. ...
(Date:1/18/2017)... ... January 18, 2017 , ... BidMed, LLC, announced it will ... genetic testing lab equipment from two different leading institutes. This highly specialized laboratory equipment ... the United States. This 1-day online auction will take place on BidMed’s website ...
Breaking Biology Technology: