WASHINGTON (CBSDC) — A new study finds that humans can smell fear.
According to LiveScience, researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands additionally believe that fear can be contagious.
“These findings are contrary to the commonly accepted assumption that human communication runs exclusively via language or visual channels,” lead author Gun Semin said in the study, according to LiveScience.
To conduct the study, researchers collected armpit sweat from ten men while they watched scenes from a horror movie or repulsive clips that made them disgusted. Researchers then gave 36 women a visual test while they unknowingly inhaled the armpit sweat.
LiveScience reported that the women gave a scared expression when they smelled the “fear sweat” and gave a disgusted grimace from the “repulsed sweat.”
“Our research suggests that emotional chemo-signals can be potential contributors to emotional contagion in situations involving dense crowds,” Semin wrote, according to LiveScience.
The study was published by Psychological Science, which is based in Washington, D.C.