Human tears contain a chemosignal

Shani Gelstein, Yaara Yeshurun, Liron Rozenkrantz, Sagit Shushan, Idan Frumin, Yehudah Roth, Noam Sobel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

160 Scopus citations

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)226-230
Number of pages5
JournalScience
Volume331
Issue number6014
DOIs
StatePublished - 14 Jan 2011
Externally publishedYes

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