Monday, January 10, 2011

"Not tonight, dear" chemical signal in women's tears.

Anytime I see an article on article on evidence for a new human pheromone (a chemical signal that we secrete and sense - from arm pits, sweat, crotch, whatever) I pass it it on. Below is the abstract from  Gelstein et al, and here is a brief account from the NYTimes.
Emotional tearing is a poorly understood behavior that is considered uniquely human. In mice, tears serve as a chemosignal. We therefore hypothesized that human tears may similarly serve a chemosignaling function. We found that merely sniffing negative-emotion–related odorless tears obtained from women donors, induced reductions in sexual appeal attributed by men to pictures of women’s faces. Moreover, after sniffing such tears, men experienced reduced self-rated sexual arousal, reduced physiological measures of arousal, and reduced levels of testosterone. Finally, functional magnetic resonance imaging revealed that sniffing women's tears selectively reduced activity in brain-substrates of sexual arousal in men.

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