Chemical in Women's Tears Turns Men Off, Study Finds
Female tears lower testosterone levels in men, temporarily decreasing their attraction to the women who shed them, according to a new study in the journal Science. Chemicals in the tears send a signal that men absorb through smell (even though there's no discernible odor), like other pheromones the body emits.
Researchers from Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science collected the tears of female volunteers after they watched a sad movie, along with fake tears consisting of saline.
When men smelled the real droplets, they found women's photographs to be less sexually attractive than when they sniffed the saline. Moreover, saliva samples given by the men in the study saw a dip in the men's testosterone after they sniffed the female tears.
Neurobiologist Noam Sobel, senior author of the study, told The Associated Press that this chemical probably served an evolutionary purpose to signal to men that "now is not the right time" for sexual activity. Drops in testosterone levels are also associated with a drop in aggression, which could have provided a survival advantage for females.
Sobel's study is considered groundbreaking in that it concludes that there is an "emotionally relevant function" for tears, which have long been considered to be simply a visual cue of sadness.
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