Odor chemicals in women’s tears may inhibit aggression in men

Odor chemicals in women's tears may inhibit aggression in men

A woman’s tears are a man’s weakest point. When an angry man sees a woman’s tears, he suddenly loses his temper and apologizes to her.

Well, of course, this situation can sometimes be used as a weapon by women.

According to research published in the journal PLOS Biology, women’s tears contain odor-derived chemicals that inhibit aggression in men.

Sniffing these tears leads to reduced brain activity related to aggression, which results in less aggressive behavior, the researchers said.

Previous research has shown that male aggression in lab rats can be inhibited by the smell of female tears. This kind of odor-based communication is called “social chemosignaling”.

To see if the same holds true in humans, the researchers designed an experiment in which two men would play a game designed to elicit aggressive behavior.

One player was made to believe the other was cheating and given the opportunity to take revenge by causing them to lose money, the researchers said.

During these scenarios, the men were randomly exposed to a woman’s emotional tears or a placebo dose of saline solution. The men did not know what they were smelling, because both the tears and the saline were odorless.

Revenge-seeking aggressive behavior dropped by more than 40% when men sniffed female tears compared to saline.

“Just like in mice, we found that human tears contain a chemical signal that inhibits male aggression,” wrote researchers led by Shani Agron, a member of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Department of Brain Sciences in Rehovot, Israel. “This goes against the idea that emotional tears are uniquely human.”

The researchers repeated the experiment in an MRI brain scanner and found that two brain regions related to aggression became more active when men were provoked during play.

But the same regions – the prefrontal cortex and the anterior insula – were not activated when men sniffed women’s tears.

The researchers found that the greater the difference in this brain activity, the less revenge the player took during the game.

By Dennis Thompson, HealthDay News

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