The Scent of Tears: Groundbreaking Study Reveals Women’s Tears Diminish Aggression in Men

 / 

The Scent of Tears

In a remarkable study published in PLOS Biology, researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel unveil the surprising impact of the scent of tears of women in reducing aggression in men.

The findings suggest that the chemical signals within tears have a profound effect on the brain, leading to decreased activity in regions associated with aggression. This discovery sheds light on the complex interplay between emotions, chemistry, and human behavior.

The Scent of Tear – The Weizmann Institute’s Intriguing Discovery

The study, led by Ph.D. student Shani Agron, delves into the chemical composition of human tears and their influence on aggression-related brain regions. Volunteers, predominantly women, participated in the research, where the team hypothesized that tears, regardless of gender, might have a similar effect.

Notably, previous studies with rodents revealed that female mouse tears could reduce fighting among male mice, showcasing a biological basis for this phenomenon. Scientists also noted that sniffing tears has been linked to a reduction in testosterone levels.

Tears as a Natural Deterrent

Agron explained that tears’ impact on aggression might be evolutionarily rooted. The team collected tears from six female volunteers who watched sad films and exposed dozens of men to either the tears or a saline liquid, both clear and odorless substances.

The participants then engaged in a computer game designed for aggression studies, involving money theft and revenge.

Surprisingly, after smelling women’s tears, the men’s desire for revenge dropped by a substantial 43.7%. This aligns with previous rodent studies but introduces a fascinating aspect – unlike rodents, humans lack a structure in their noses that detects odorless chemical signals.

To understand this better, the researchers investigated 62 olfactory receptors crucial for the sense of smell. They found that four receptors were activated by tears but not saline.

The Neurological Impact of Tears

To deepen their understanding, the researchers used MRI machines to observe the brain activity of participants. After smelling tears, the prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula, regions associated with aggression, exhibited reduced activity.

This neurological insight offers a glimpse into the intricate relationship between tears and the brain’s response to aggression triggers.

Evolutionary Implications

The researchers propose that tears may have evolved as a protective mechanism for babies who cannot communicate verbally. Noam Sobel, a Weizmann professor of neurobiology, explained, “Babies can’t say: ‘Stop being aggressive towards me.’

They are very limited in their ability to communicate, and they are helpless as well. They have a vested interest in lowering aggression, and that reflects the sad reality of aggression towards babies.”

Expert Perspectives on the Findings

Dr. Minna Lyons, a psychologist from Liverpool John Moores University, hailed the findings as “remarkable” but urged caution in drawing sweeping conclusions. She pointed out the complexity of the social context of crying, suggesting that the reduction of aggression might be just one facet of tears’ multifaceted functions.

“In real life, things may play out differently. The tears of the target of domestic violence may do little in reducing the aggression of the perpetrator. Why does the chemosignaling not work in these circumstances?” questioned Dr. Lyons, emphasizing the need for a nuanced understanding of tears’ roles in various social contexts.

In conclusion, the Weizmann Institute’s study offers a fascinating glimpse into the intricate ways in which tears, specifically women’s tears, influence human behavior.

The chemical signals within tears appear to have a tangible impact on reducing aggression, unraveling a biological aspect that adds complexity to the age-old act of shedding tears.


— Share —

— About the Author —

Leave a Reply

Up Next

New Study Reveals Link Between Depression, Anorexia, and Gut Microbiota

The Scent of Tears

A recent study published in BMC Psychiatry sheds light on a potential connection between major depressive disorder (MDD), anorexia, and gut microbiota. Led by researchers at the First Hospital of Shanxi Medical University, the study suggests that individuals with both depression and anorexia exhibit distinct patterns in their gut bacteria, particularly involving the presence of a specific bacterium called Blautia.

Depression, characterized by persistent sadness and a loss of interest in daily activities, affects millions worldwide and is often accompanied by a high risk of suicide. Anorexia, marked by reduced appetite and distorted body image, commonly co-occurs with depression, complicating treatment efforts.

Gut Bacteria’s Role in Depression and Anorexia

Up Next

Beyond Chemical Imbalances: Researchers Shed Light on Social Root Causes Of Depression

The Scent of Tears

In a recent letter to the editor published in Molecular Psychiatry, researchers led by Joanna Moncrieff present a compelling argument challenging the conventional understanding of depression. They assert that rather than being solely attributed to chemical imbalances in the brain, and discuss the social root causes of depression.

According to Moncrieff et al., the evidence for brain differences in depression is lacking, while there is substantial support for the influence of social and environmental factors on mental health.

They argue that the circumstances of life, such as stress and adversity, play a more significant role in shaping depressive symptoms than neuro

Up Next

Study Reveals Presence of Microplastics in Human Brain: Concerns Rise Over Health Implications

The Scent of Tears

In a groundbreaking revelation, researchers from the University of New Mexico have discovered microplastics infiltrating human brain tissue, as reported in a study published in the journal Environment Health Perspectives. The study sheds light on the pervasive presence of microplastics in various organs of the body, including the kidneys, liver, and brain.

Eliseo Castillo, an associate professor leading the research, underscores the widespread distribution of microplastics in the environment, emphasizing their presence in water sources, food items, and even the air we breathe.

Previous studies have estimated that individuals ingest approximately five grams of microplastics weekly, equivalent to the weight of a credit card.

Up Next

Study Reveals Significant Genetic Link Between Treatment-Resistant Depression and Family History

The Scent of Tears

In a groundbreaking study published in the journal JAMA Psychiatry, researchers have uncovered a substantial genetic link between treatment-resistant depression (TRD) and family history.

Led by Dr. Cheng-Ta Li, a professor of medicine at the National Yang-Ming Chiao Tung University in Taipei, Taiwan, the study utilized extensive national health insurance data to investigate the transmission of TRD across generations and its association with other psychiatric disorders.

The findings of the study are particularly significant, as they shed light on the hereditary nature of TRD and its implications for early intervention and treatment.

Up Next

FDA Clears Prescription Digital Therapeutic for Adults with Major Depressive Disorder

The Scent of Tears

The FDA has recently cleared a groundbreaking prescription digital therapeutic, known as Rejoyn, for the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) symptoms in adults. This innovative therapy, developed by Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. in collaboration with Click Therapeutics Inc., aims to provide adjunctive care for individuals who have been prescribed antidepressants as part of clinician-managed outpatient treatment.

Rejoyn is a 6-week treatment program designed to assist individuals aged 22 years and older in regulating their emotions through a combination of clinically validated cognitive training exercises and therapeutic lessons.

The therapy utilizes digital platforms to deliver pe

Up Next

Sweet Science: How Chocolate’s Theobromine May Aid Weight Loss and Alzheimer’s Prevention

The Scent of Tears

A recent study conducted by researchers at Zhengzhou University in China suggests that indulging in chocolate could offer various health benefits, including weight loss assistance and Alzheimer’s prevention.

Published in the Journal of Functional Foods, the study highlights the potential of a chemical compound found in chocolate called theobromine to positively impact both the body and the brain.

Theobromine, present in cocoa beans, boasts anti-inflammatory properties and is rich in antioxidants, making it beneficial for brain health. According to scientists, this compound can protect against Alzhei

Up Next

New Study Finds High Genetic Risk for Obesity May Require Over 14,500 Daily Steps

The Scent of Tears

A recent study published in JAMA Network Open reveals a significant association between genetic risk for obesity and the amount of physical activity required to mitigate the risk.

Led by Dr. Evan Brittain, associate professor of medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, the study analyzed data from 3,124 participants in the National Institutes of Health’s All of Us Research Program to explore the link between genetic predisposition to obesity and recommended step counts for reducing the genetic risk of developing the condition.

Findings from the study indicate that individuals with a higher genetic risk of obesity may need to undertake more physical activity