A woman's emotional tears reduce a man's aggressiveness

A woman's emotional tears reduce a man's aggressiveness

New research has found that women's emotional tears reduce testosterone and aggression in men: they have less activity in the areas of the brain involved in violent reactions. This is what Jurka said in one of his poems: Tears choked the wind.

A study conducted by researchers at the Weizmann Institute of Science revealed that women's tears contain chemicals that prevent aggression in men.

The study, published in the journal PLOS Biology, showed that smelling tears leads to decreased brain activity associated with aggression, leading to less aggressive behavior.

Researchers led by Dr. Shani Agronfrom the research group of Professor. Noam SobelResearchers from the Department of Brain Sciences and the Weizmann Azrieli Institute for Human Brain Research and Imaging conducted a series of experiments to examine the effect of women's tears on men.

Emotional tears

First, they collected emotional tears from six women between the ages of 22 and 25 and placed them in jars.

They then asked the men to smell vials containing tears or saline solution as a control. The men were unable to distinguish between the two smells, which indicates that tears have no perceptible smell.

The researchers then measured the men's levels of testosterone, a hormone linked to aggression and sexual desire.

Less testosterone

They found that men who inhaled the scent of tears had significantly lower testosterone levels than those who inhaled the saline solution.

They also found that smelling tears increased functional connectivity between the neural substrates of odor and aggression, reducing overall levels of neural activity associated with aggression.

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Finally, the researchers performed brain scans on the men while they viewed images of female faces with neutral or sad expressions.

They noticed that the men who smelled tears had less activity in brain areas associated with aggression and sexual desire, such as the amygdala, hypothalamus, and fusiform gyrus.

Game of provocation

The experiment also included a practical experience through a game in which an algorithm takes money from the player in an “unfair” manner, in order to provoke an aggressive reaction.

In this game, researchers observed a more than 40% decrease in the player's aggression after exposing him to a woman's tears.

It was known from previous studies that human female tears contain a chemical signal that, when smelled, reduces testosterone in men, but the behavioral effect of this effect was not known, which is what this research addressed.

Signals and chemical behavior

What this study has found is to show that human tears contain chemical signals that influence the social behavior of recipients, a clear indication that they could have an evolutionary function in regulating interactions between the sexes.

However, the researchers warn that more research is needed to identify the chemical compound responsible for this effect and to explore whether men's tears have a similar effect on women.

It is also known that male aggression in rodents is blocked when they smell the tears of females. New research has found that human tears, as in mice, contain a chemical signal that prevents aggression from males of their own species.

Perhaps Federico García Lorca imagined a little of all this when he wrote in one of his poems (Cassida del Blu): Crying is a huge angel, crying is a huge violin, tears choke the wind.


A chemical signal in human female tears reduces aggressionmoney. Shani Agron et al. PLoS Biology, December 21, 2023. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.3002442

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