She and her team first collected emotional tears – and only female tears. “When we were looking for voluntary tear donations, it was mostly women who came forward,” she says. “Maybe because it's socially acceptable to cry.”
But that was not a problem, quite the opposite. However, the study was only intended to examine the effect of emotional tears from women on men. There was one reason for this decision Stady Written by Noam Sobel, a neurobiologist at the Weizmann Institute, who in 2011 was able to demonstrate that chemotherapeutic signals in women's emotional tears cause decreased testosterone levels and sexual arousal in men.
“Testosterone has a greater effect on aggressive ability in men than in women,” Agron says. “That's why we expected a greater chance of achieving a clear effect if we tested women's tears on men for the first time.”
In their experiment, the researchers asked male participants to blindly inhale a liquid, which in some cases was the women's emotional tears and in others was a saline solution. They then asked the men to work in groups of two to play a game designed to make them aggressive. During the course of the game, test subjects were given the opportunity to take revenge on their fellow players. This revenge was of no benefit to them regarding the course of the game, but it provided them with an outlet to vent their pent-up aggression.
The result: Men who inhaled women's emotional tears were 44% less aggressive and vindictive in their behavior compared to the saline control group. This rate is approximately consistent with the results of experiments in rodents. MRI scans of the participants also showed that after smelling the women's emotional tears, their prefrontal cortex and anterior insula — two brain regions associated with aggression — were less active.
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