- Chemical compounds in tears can douse men's sexual desire.
- Human tears contain pheromones, substances that influence behavior via smell.
- The reasons why people, but not any other animal, cry at sad thoughts or events remain poorly understood.
Crying women may literally turn men off. Odorless chemical signals in a woman's waterworks lessen any stirrings of sexual interest in a guy who whiffs her tear-stained cheeks, a new study suggests.
In a paper published online Jan. 6 in Science, a team led by neuroscientists Shani Gelstein and Noam Sobel of the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, presents the first evidence that human tears contain pheromones, substances that influence behavior via smell. "Our experiments suggest that women's emotional tears contain a chemosignal that reduces sexual arousal in men," Sobel says.
Chemical compounds in tears that douse men's desire have yet to be identified.
"This new report makes a strong case for pheromones in women's tears, but the results clearly warrant replication," comments neuroscientist Robert Provine of the University of Maryland Baltimore County.