Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Induction of empathy by the smell of anxiety

Prehn-Kristensen et al. show that show that chemosensory anxiety signals (in the sweat of people awaiting and academic examination) activate brain areas involved in the processing of social anxiety signals (fusiform gyrus), and structures which mediate the empathetic internal representation of the emotional state of others (insula, precuneus, cingulate cortex), even though participants could not distinguish the smell of 'anxious sweat' form the smell of sweat produced by the same sweat donors during exercise.

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