Feeling Blue? Smell the Armpit of a Happy Man, New Study Advises

By Staff Reporter - 20 Apr '15 11:00AM

If you are feeling blue and need a quick pick me up, then consider a new finding by a study - smell the armpit of a happy man.

The results of a study published in the journal Psychological Science suggest that a woman will respond positively when exposed to the sweat of a man who is in a happy state at the time the sweat is collected.

Olfactory communication, the sense of smell, was most likely the first sensory system that evolved, says Gün Semin, professor of psychology at Utrecht University, in the Netherlands.

The study found that chemical signals or chemosignals is sweat odor that can enliven others. Researchers had taken sweat samples from 12 men after instructing them to watch videos that altered mind states to fear or happiness. The reason behind choosing women as subjects was their ability to better detect smells and they are more sensitive to emotional signals.

The author of the study, Gün Semin, said that "being exposed to sweat produced under happiness induces a simulacrum of happiness in receivers, and induces a contagion of the emotional state." The Utrech University professor also added, "Somebody who is happy will infuse others in their vicinity with happiness."

Semin added via Medical News Today that, "This suggests that somebody who is happy will infuse others in their vicinity with happiness. In a way, happiness sweat is somewhat like smiling - it is infectious."

After the women smelled the 'fear sweat', this activated their medial frontalis, which is associated with fear. In contrast, the facial muscles of women in the study worked to produce a Duchene smile, associated with positive emotions, when exposed to happy sweat.

The researchers concluded: 'We observed that exposure to body odour collected from senders of chemosignals in a happy state induced a facial expression and perceptual-processing style indicative of happiness in the receivers of those signals.

'Our findings suggest that not only negative, but also a positive state (happiness) can be transferred by means of odours.'  

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