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We can smell fear - study

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  • We can smell fear - study

    You can really smell fear claim scientists who also claim being terrified is contagious

    By Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent
    02 Jul 2009

    The smell of fear really does exist claim scientists in a study that also suggests that it is contagious.

    Researchers have shown that we subconsciously detect whether others are scared by picking up chemicals they release from their bodies.

    They believe the signals can be catching and spread around a group.

    Dr Bettina Pause and colleagues at the University of Dusseldorf in Germany put cotton pads under the armpits of 49 student volunteers before they were due to start a university exam.

    She also collected sweat from the same group of students as they worked out on exercise bikes.

    Another group of 28 volunteer students were then asked to sniff the cotton pads while their brains were monitored with an MRI scanner.

    None were able to tell the difference between 'panic sweat' and 'exercise sweat' but the brain scans told a different story, reports the science journal PLoS One.

    When sniffing 'panic sweat', the regions of the brain that handle emotional and social signals became far more active. Parts of the brain involved in empathy also lit up.

    The researchers believe fear and anxiety trigger the release of a chemical that makes other people empathise.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sciencean...ontagious.html
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  • #2
    Re: We can smell fear - study

    We can smell fear - study

    July 14 2009
    Sapa-dpa

    Dusseldorf - Humans can smell fear, detecting molecules in sweat odour which indicate that another person is afraid, according to German psychologists.

    It was previously thought that only animals such as fish, flies and rodents had such a faculty.

    But the detection in humans is unconscious.

    "We are the first in the world to prove that emotions can be communicated chemically between humans," said Bettina Pause, a psychology professor at the University of Dusseldorf who led the study.

    They team showed that when a person smells "fear" molecules from somebody else's skin, this stimulates regions of the brain responsible for empathy and interpreting other people's emotions.

    Pause said humans know someone else is afraid without knowing how they know.

    The 10-year-long study used swabs of "cold sweat" taken from the armpits of 50 students while they were sitting examinations and were scared of failure.

    The odour was wafted into the noses of 28 people connected to brain scanners, only half of whom said they could even smell sweat, yet their brains responded.

    "It means that when humans detect fear by smell, they feel similarly and it triggers empathy," said Pause, who believes the faculty mainly helps humans sense danger, for example by knowing when strangers are nervous.

    But so far the "smell of fear" has not been isolated.

    "We think these they are volatile molecules that easily travel a certain distance," Pause said, adding that anti-perspirants cannot really hide it if you are afraid.

    "Deodorants only block the signal for a short time," she said.

    http://www.iol.co.za/index.php?set_i...4412454C409573
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    • #3
      Re: We can smell fear - study

      Is this why animals can sense you're scared and are more likely to attack?

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      • #4
        Re: We can smell fear - study

        Can't wait till they use this information and apply it to security measures.
        If we do not maintain justice,
        justice will not maintain us.
        Francis Bacon

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        • #5
          Re: We can smell fear - study

          hahhaa thats the smell of someone soiling themselves :rofl1:

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: We can smell fear - study

            interesting!Thanks for the post
            "Qui desiderat pacem, bellum praeparat; nemo provocare ne offendere audet quem intelliget superiorem esse pugnaturem"
            Whosoever desires peace prepares for war; no one provokes, nor dares to offend, those who they know to be superior in battle-Flavius Vegetius Renatus

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