Can you smell Stress?

Some scientists have been doing some tests that involved smelling other people’s sweat. They controlled it for exercise but I wonder if they controlled it for people who hadn’t had shower in a while?

Alarm substances are airborne chemical signals, released by an individual into the environment, which communicate emotional stress between conspecifics. Here we tested whether humans, like other mammals, are able to detect emotional stress in others by chemosensory cues. Sweat samples collected from individuals undergoing an acute emotional stressor, with exercise as a control, were pooled and presented to a separate group of participants (blind to condition) during four experiments. In an fMRI experiment and its replication, we showed that scanned participants showed amygdala activation in response to samples obtained from donors undergoing an emotional, but not physical, stressor. An odor-discrimination experiment suggested the effect was primarily due to emotional, and not odor, differences between the two stimuli. A fourth experiment investigated behavioral effects, demonstrating that stress samples sharpened emotion-perception of ambiguous facial stimuli. Together, our findings suggest human chemosensory signaling of emotional stress, with neurobiological and behavioral effects.

And how did they collect the sweat? I mean how did they stress some people out so much that they started sweating? It would be pretty hard unless they were using some of CIA’s drillmachines

The culprits are: Mujica-Parodi et al.
Hat-Tip: Deric Bownd

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