Women Are Basically Superheroes (Says Science)

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super heros

That's right: women can smell fear.

There are many times when we wish we could read our guy’s mind because let’s face it: they’re not always the best at communicating emotions. It's really like reading a brick wall sometimes. But good news: women have a superpower — that's right, superpower — that can help combat this.

That's right: women can smell fear.

A study published in Psychological Science had a group of men watch clips in order to arouse different emotions. One group watched the Bare Necessities scene from The Jungle Book as a stimuli for happiness while the second group watched a scary clip from Se7en to evoke fear, and the third group watched the weather channel in hopes of a more "neutral" emotion.

As they watched the movies, sweat samples were taken from the men. They then had 35 heterosexual women smell the vials of sweat to see what would happen.

The ladies’ facial expressions began to mirror the emotions of the men on the screen. If they got a whiff of “happy man’s sweat” the women would involuntarily smile, versus the “scared man’s sweat” where women would exhibit a scared facial expression.

So what gives?

It's called chemosignaling, which occurs when chemicals are transmitted through scent. (Which might explain why we sniff our hand after shaking someone else’s.) And turns out chemosignaling affects your dating life, too.

"Chemosignaling could play a role in dating both in negative and positive ways. You could be nervous and another person observing your body odor may become nervous as well, thereby reducing the perceived quality of the date. But otherwise, observing positive arousal through body odor could lead to more positive arousal and — eventually  the perception of a successful date," explains the study's co-author, Dr. Jasper H.B. de Groot to Yourtango.

The interesting thing is that chemosignaling is only applies to women — men aren't able to pick up on it. 

"Women in general are more sensitive to odors and emotional signals. In one of our previous experiments we observed that the female participants could pick up the fearful state of body odor, whereas the male sample could not," says Dr. Groot.

But don't worry, guys. You can still hide mask your odor so your date won't sniff you out. Dr. Groot recommends using a good antiperspirant before leaving the house.


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