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Chemosignals Make Your Nose an Emotional Superhighway

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In 2012, we as human beings are as close to sensory overload as we’ve ever been. The prehistoric “food as necessity” mindset has been replaced by one that offers over 60 kinds of barbecue sauce. Gigantic flat-screens have replaced nearly every other practical form of visual information, from TVs to store signs to bowling prices. Similar comparisons can be made for touch and hearing. Though our sense of smell was certainly more useful in the wild, primitive days of mankind’s origins, it’s the redheaded step-child of the senses, where most products with olfactory promotions are usually just trying to cover up other worse smells. I’ll admit, it’s hard to conceive other methods of nasal persuasion. Researcher Gün Semin and his Utrecht University of the Netherlands colleagues may have proven things haven’t changed as much as we’ve thought.

In a new study for the journal Psychological Science, Semin hoped to prove that emotional expressions weren’t limited to just visual examples, such as widening your eyes in fear or sneering when disgusted. His team hypothesized that chemicals in bodily secretions would cause similar reactions in both the sender and receiver, creating an emotional bond, only through science instead of icky feelings.