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:4/17/2017)... Florida , April 17, 2017 NXT-ID, ... technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report on ... and Exchange Commission. ... on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section of ... as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ ... management and secure authentication solutions, today announced that ... by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) to ... IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation has been ... and IARPA,s Thor program will allow us to ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ:   NXTD ... the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin D. Richards ... of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and expertise. ... Gino Pereira , Chief ... to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable expertise as ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... Arrowhead Publishers is pleased to ... coming to San Diego, CA on September 27-28, 2017. Leaders from the pharmaceutical, ... advances in the treatment of various types of pain. There are also extended ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... ... April 27, 2017 , ... ... comprehensive rebrand and a name change to Fluence Analytics. , Fluence ... monitoring of polymer and biopharmaceutical manufacturing processes and R&D applications. The company’s ...
(Date:4/27/2017)... NASHVILLE, Tenn. , April 27, 2017  Pendant ... company developing innovative surface modification and drug delivery technologies, ... & Johnson Innovation, JLABS @ Toronto ... Chief Executive Officer of Pendant Biosciences, noted, "We are ... Toronto community, and are honored to ...
(Date:4/26/2017)... ... April 26, 2017 , ... WonderWorks, Myrtle Beach’s science ... the future of deep space exploration and inspire space enthusiasts. The exhibit features ... includes a guest appearance by former Shuttle Astronaut Don Thomas. , The intergalactic ...
Breaking Biology Technology: