A team of Israeli scientists is reporting that when your date at the movies starts crying, it may have an effect on you even if you can’t see the tears.
Seeing tears clearly has an effect on people — it tends to turn anger into compassion. But scientists at the Weizmann Institute of Science wondered if the effect was strictly visual. Might there be some chemical in human tears that was responsible for the urge to care for someone? So they advertised for people willing to donate tears.
“We got mainly female donors,” says biochemist Idan Frumin, one of the authors of the new study.
He says the first step was to see whether smelling a woman’s tears had a measurable effect on men.
Although they didn’t smell anything, Frumin and his colleagues asked the men to look at pictures of women’s faces and to fill out a questionnaire.
“One of the questions in the questionnaire was: ‘What is the state of sexual arousal of this specific subject in this specific moment?’ And to our amazement, we saw a drop in arousal,” he says.