Sniff your soul mate to feel closer

By Staff Writer • Published: February 25th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When your partner is living up to the saying “Men are from Mars, women are from Venus,” don’t you wish you could just read your beau’s mind? Science hasn’t made that leap yet, but a new study has sniffed out the fact that you might just be able to communicate and read emotions through chemical signals.

The science in the study is called sensory acquisition, a phenomenon in which facial expressions arm humans not only with cues about their environment, but also with the traits needed to survive it. For example, a fearful expression allows us to open our eyes, breathe in through our noses and improves perception. The opposite is sensory rejection, such as in disgust when we wrinkle our noses to block air from entering nostrils.

The scientists tested this theory by collecting sweat samples from men while they watched a scary or repulsive movie. A group of women then smelled the sweat samples, and sure enough, those who smelled the scary sweat expressed fear and those who sniffed the repulsive sweat made faces of disgust. They also found that the sweat affected the women’s visual perception. Interestingly, the actual smell of the sweat didn’t affect whether a woman expressed disgust.

It goes to show that communication is not limited to words and sight, sound, touch and hearing. Humans can smell their way to what scientists call “emotional synchronization.” Research has shown that emotions are very contagious, and such emotional synchronization among groups makes our bodies and brains function similarly.

So if you find yourself in the middle of an argument with your spouse or loved one, just smile and see what happens. You might just spark a reconciliation and smell or smile your way to a closer relationship.