[R]esearchers recruited 10 men and taped absorbent pads under their armpits while they watched 25-minute videos taken from The Shining and Jackass, on separate occasions. The pads were chopped up and placed in bottles, with each bottle containing samples from four men collected under either the "fear" condition or the "disgust" condition. When the women, who had not been told where the samples camefrom, were exposed to "fear" sweat they opened their eyes more widely - an expression of fear. In contrast, the "disgust" condition prompted them to adopt a corresponding facial expression by lowering their eyebrows and wrinkling their noses.This study is intriguing in many ways. First, that the old wisdom that claims "people may be smart, crowds/herds are stupid", is true.
[Dr. Guen Semin of Utrecht University said,] "Importantly, the women were not aware of these effects and there was no relationship between the effects observed and how pleasant or intense the women judged the stimuli to be." The findings may explain the "emotional contagion" which is known to spread among heavy crowds, he added.
When exposed to bottled sweat given off by men as they watched clips from the thriller "The Shining", women began showing physical signs of being afraid such as a fearful facial expression, darting eye movements and heavier sniffing. In contrast, the smell of perspiration from men who had been watching MTV's Jackass - which features stomach-churning stunts - caused a disgusted facial expression and other signs of the emotion including a reduction in eye movement and sniffing.
The findings suggest that certain emotions can be contagious and can be detected via chemical signals, even though the women were not aware of it at the time, researchers said.
Researches chose to study the effect of men's sweat on women because men have been shown to release more chemical signs when they perspire, while women are more sensitive to the signals.
Second, that the mechanism of female sexual attraction is complex with many interrelated variables, and is not well understood. Thus what is known as the "tingle" is the end result of the interplay of many factors, not the least of which are scent cues given off by men...whether men know it or not, whether women realize it or not.
Third, these factors work at an unconscious level, meaning that not only are men not able to directly able to influence their stink, but that women are not very likely to be at all aware that these olfactory clues are hard at work on her amygdala, turning her "on" to a particular fellow and "off" to another. Curious also to consider that men with more "alpha" traits (social dominance, resource-rich, pre-selection effects, etc) are likely to experience/exude less fear and disgust, and therefore be more (unconsciously) attractive to the women in their midst--while the more fearful and less dominant men are not.
Fourth, that emotions really are contagious, and that positivity truly does beget positivity, while the converse seems true as well.
The PUA set has a lot to be happy about in this study, for it reinforces what they've anecdotally observed to be true...that teaching men to be more confident/cocky in social situations reduces their fear of rejection and apprehension, and therefore the pheromones they emit.