Chemosignalling effects of human tears revisited: Does exposure to female tears decrease males' perception of female sexual attractiveness?

A. Gracanin, M.A.L.M. van Assen, Višnja Omrčen, Ivana Koraj, A.J.J.M. Vingerhoets

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
138 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Gelstein et al. reported the results of three experiments suggesting a dampening influence of inhalation of female emotional tears on males' arousal and perception of female sexual attractiveness, specifically in non-sexual situations. This prompted the hypothesis that crying exerts its influence on others not only via the auditory and visual mode but also via chemosignals. In three studies, we attempted to replicate and extend Gelstein et al.'s findings by including an additional condition with irritant tears, by using pictures of sexually attractive women, and by testing related hypotheses on the pro-social effects of exposure to tears. All three studies, separately or combined in a meta-analysis, failed to replicate the original inhibitory effects of tears. In addition, sniffing tears did not affect measures of connectedness, aggression and pro-social behaviour. It is concluded that the effects of female tears on male arousal and perception of female sexual attractiveness, if any, are very weak at best. Rather, it seems that crying exerts its strong inter-personal effects through the visual and auditory sensory channels.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-150
JournalCognition and Emotion
Volume31
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Chemosignalling effects of human tears revisited: Does exposure to female tears decrease males' perception of female sexual attractiveness?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this