Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Male sexual sweat - women's brains recognize

Below is the press release sent to me that I found very interesting. I hope you do too:

New study by Rice University psychologist finds women's brains recognize, encode smell of male sexual sweat

Rice University
Office of Public Affairs / News & Media Relations

News Release

HOUSTON -- (Jan. 8, 2009) -- A new Rice University study published in the Journal of Neuroscience found that socioemotional meanings, including sexual ones, are conveyed in human sweat.

Denise Chen, assistant professor of psychology at Rice, looked at how the brains of female volunteers processed and encoded the smell of sexual sweat from men. The results of the experiment indicated the brain recognizes chemosensory communication, including human sexual sweat.

Scientists have long known that animals use scent to communicate.

Chen's study represents an effort to expand knowledge of how humans’ sense of smell complement their more powerful senses of sight and hearing.

The experiment directly studied natural human sexual sweat using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Nineteen healthy female subjects inhaled olfactory stimuli from four sources, one of which was sweat gathered from sexually aroused males.

The research showed that several parts of the brain are involved in processing the emotional value of the olfactory information. These include the right fusiform region, the right orbitofrontal cortex and the right hypothalamus.

"With the exception of the hypothalamus, neither the orbitofrontal cortex nor the fusiform region is considered to be associated with sexual motivation and behavior," Chen said. "Our results imply that the chemosensory information from natural human sexual sweat is encoded more holistically in the brain rather than specifically for its sexual quality."

Humans are evolved to respond to salient socioemotional information.

Distinctive neural mechanisms underlie the processing of emotions in facial and vocal expressions. The findings help explain the neural mechanism for human social chemosignals.

The understanding of human smell at the neural level is still at the beginning stage. The present work is the first fMRI study of human social chemosignals.

The research, co-authored by Chen and Wen Zhou, graduate student in the Psychology Department, appeared in the December 31 issue of Journal of Neuroscience.

The research was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health.

Who Knew?
Located in Houston, Rice University is consistently ranked one of America's best teaching and research universities. Known for its "unconventional wisdom," Rice is distinguished by its: size -- 3,001 undergraduates and 2,144 graduate students; selectivity --12 applicants for each place in the freshman class; resources -- an undergraduate student-to-faculty ratio of 5-to-1; sixth largest endowment per student among American private research universities; residential college system, which builds communities that are both close-knit and diverse; and collaborative culture, which crosses disciplines, integrates teaching and research, and intermingles undergraduate and graduate work.


Nicole Austin said...

Interesting. So sweat produced, say from exercise, smells different than sweat produced when aroused?

Hmm...I guess that makes sense. Personally I am more likely to be willing to touch a man who is sweay from sex than one who is sweaty from the gym. LOL!

N.J.Walters said...


Minx Malone said...

Dang, can I get a job researching stuff like this?

This is interesting though.