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06.10.2015, admin  
Category: Body Supplement

It’s no wonder that the general public sometimes questions whether science is important.
Given that tears are known to serve as sexual signals in mice, it isn’t strange at all that Noam Sobel and his team chose to look at the physiological responses to tears.
To find out if tears alone acted as chemosignals, the scientists collected tears from women watching tear-jerkers, and as a control, compared their effects to saline rolled down women’s cheeks.
But to really get to the meat of it, the team threw their male test subjects into an fMRI machine and scanned their brains for activity while sniffing tears.
Sorry to burst their bubble, but even when it comes to evolution, it’s not all about sex. Really, the idea that tears are intentionally used as a turn off is a hard sell to an evolutionary biologist.
There is, instead, an even more intriguing explanation, one that makes a whole lot more sense. Numerous studies have shown that parental and nurturing behaviors are mediated by prolactin while inhibited by testosterone. Perhaps prolactin or other chemical signals in tears are directly targeting and activating the nurturing pathway in men’s brains. Haga S, Hattori T, Sato T, Sato K, Matsuda S, Kobayakawa R, Sakano H, Yoshihara Y, Kikusui T, & Touhara K (2010). On top of everything else, so much science journalism is just plain corny, and acts like we have the attention span of goldfish (although real goldfish, of course, actually remember things from at least three months ago).
Also, why are all these articles about science seeking to validate the current views of men and women? A test to see if this is real is to look for a mechanism of regulating hormone levels in tears, snowing that their presence and levels are not just incidental to the fact that steroids have the run of (most of) the body.
I wonder, however, whether the pheromone actually has to hit the olfactory senses for the ardor to cool, so to speak.
Ah… I see Sarz raised the same question as I was typing my response; why no effect on abusers? But then you came along with the BEST SMACK DOWN EVER of a piece of poorly researched journalism! Good points, Azkyroth, about the potential for different responses from different kinds of people. Serendipitously, we were discussing this exact subject over on reddit a few days before this research came out.
Given that, as you note, solid evidence of human pheromones has so far proved elusive, finding them first in tears seems quite unlikely.
Unfortunately, our media has become so tabloidized that the way this was reported (omigod, sex!) isn’t surprising in the least. And, obviously, those who want a power trip will want tears because it demonstrates that they have broken the other person.
I did read that indeed, they are planning future research to explore whether (as they anticipate) the same effect is seen with male tears and female sniffers. Here is what I have been posting in comments for several science blogs on how it’s been inherently understood the effects of tears per violence, especial sexual violence. There are fewer differences between men and women than the men think and there are fewer differences between women and men than women hope. Awesome discussion & writing, I had no idea there was so much science (and hormones) involved behind the response to tears. Furthermore, the men self-reported less sexual arousal, which was reflected in their bodies as a 13% drop in saliva testosterone levels. I have a couple of issues with their testosterone analysis, and I’d love your take on it.

Neither of these problems means that their conclusion is wrong, of course, but I’m definitely more skeptical of it than I was when I first heard about the research. This is essentially what happens in “honor” killings, a woman does something that one of her male relatives doesn’t like, so he kills her and any non-related males she happens to have done it with.
I suspect that this may be part of why there is such reluctance to try and intervene in domestic violence against women. Empathy helps because it allows planning for hunting or group cohesion of great variety and, for a poorly armed weak ape like hominids, the group action is VERY successful. Empathy however allows anthropomorphising and that makes us less likely to act correctly in the face of danger like when finding lion cubs. As to the lowered sex drive, is that not possibly a reaction to empathy: we have sex because WE LIKE IT. And association will be made with the visual look, the sound (cat mewls sound a lot like baby cries intentionally) and the smell. He writes the Sexploration column for MSNBC, so sure, his job is all about selling sex stories to the public. The Israeli team designed an impressive and unbiased set of experiments to determine if the tears produced by women when sad elicit physiological responses in men separate of the visual or auditory stimuli of a woman crying. Men sniffed the solutions without any knowledge as to what they were during a series of different experiments. Researchers saw much less activity in the hypothalamus and the fusiform gyrus, both of which are thought to be involved in sexual arousal. Many who wrote about this paper (including Brian Alexander) mentioned that tears are known to contain a variety of compounds, including prolactin, the hormone which is responsible for making a guy cool his jets after he gets off. Decreased testosterone and increased prolactin are strongly implicated in establishing and maintaining relationships. Being taken care of or protected when in emotional or physical pain would definitely benefit an individual’s survival. The male mouse pheromone ESP1 enhances female sexual receptive behaviour through a specific vomeronasal receptor.
They feel the need to keep rephrasing the basic idea over and over in the most inane language possible, as if reading science as science is just too daunting for us stupid Americans. I am a graduate student in biology and, as such, I’m the go-to-person in my group of friends when someone finds some interesting science article.
Surely there are plenty of other emotional cues, including visual and auditory, which might take effect even before the tear smell reaches you?
I’m not sure there is much evidence that crying helps women escape domestic abuse, for instance – or does it?
Which only strengthens my suspicion that there is a lot more to these kinds of responses than simple hormonal responses to pheromones in tears! But initial experiments found that sniffing women’s tears did not affect men’s mood or empathy, but “had a pronounced influence on sexual arousal, a surprise,” Dr. Sobel said whatever the evolutionary origin of emotional tears, he was not contending that his findings had modern romantic applications. Male testosterone isn’t just about sex but high levels induce aggression and violence. Infants obviously have fewer ways to communicate, so crying is even more important for them than for those who can speak. Once I calmed down, I took a good look at the cat– I had been blurry-eyed from the tears before, and saw it had an infect injury around one of its eyes.
My husband would wait until I was more or less calmed down, but the comforting hug tended to morph into a grope, much to my annoyance. All that there needs to be is not so great a disadvantage as to reduce the opportunities for breeding.

Instead, the authors sought to determine if the chemicals present in human tears might serve as chemosignals like they do for other animals — and they got some pretty interesting results. Years of searching has yet to find human pheromones (no matter what those websites tell you), and while scent seems to play a role in communication in people, there is still relatively little knowledge as to what chemicals and why. In the first, men with a tear-soaked pad under their nose were asked to rate the sexual attractiveness and mood of female faces.
The overwhelming answer given by mainstream media (as Rheanna pointed out) is that tears just aren’t sexy.
Furthermore, men’s prolactin levels spike and testosterone levels drop in the weeks before their partner gives birth. Monogamous men have significantly lower testosterone levels and higher prolactin levels than their single brethren. Of course, the smell can reinforce the effect, but I wonder if the physiological response starts sooner.
If you can get opposite kinds of responses to the same stimulus, then it can’t just be that one stimulus alone doing it now, can it? And even if it is, the particular interpretation made in the linked article, ignoring for the moment its sexist assumptions, is only one of those possible. I enjoyed it MUCH MORE than any of the sensationalized bull shit I’ve read before it.
Also, babies are more vulnerable than adults, so reducing aggression in mom and dad would be even more important.
I pulled myself together to see if I could get it to the vet, but as soon and my emotional focus changed, it turned skittish and went into the underbrush.
But I don’t personally think he has a burning hatred for women, or views them as objects placed on this Earth for the sexual satisfaction of men.
When I want to get some from my honey, I focus all my thoughts on my dead dog or my great grandma and cry as hard as I can. While the smell of saline had no effect, men inhaling Eau de Tears consistently rated women’s faces as less attractive, though this had no impact on whether they found the faces happy or sad. For example, Ed Yong brings up the hypothesis that tears might be used to downplay aggression. Furthermore, studies have directly shown that artificially increasing testosterone in a double-blind, placebo-controlled setting makes men less generous to strangers and reduces a person’s empathy for others. It’s that the vast majority of people who have any interest in science news are going to read inaccurate (if not downright insulting) news articles and think studies like this one are either misogynistic or frivolous. For example, what happens if men watch that sad movie without sniffing anything in advance? I ignored all the idiot takes on it, but you’re right that it is insulting on a number of fronts. And the baby being the greedy guy that it is, would want to monopolize it’s parents time, so reducing the frequency that dad pursues mom for sex would be good too.
It’s that dumbasses like Brian Alexander undermine good science for the sake of attention grabbing headlines. Getting others, especially angry men, to be less aggressive towards us in that moment could certainly be a benefit to survival.

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