Happiness smells, according to surprising new research. A team of European researchers performed a study and found that people who experienced happiness may produce chemicals in their sweat that can be transmitted to others.
Andreas Keller, research associate with The Rockefeller University in New York City, offered a simple explanation about the researcher’s findings to Medical Xpress.
“Hearing happy people and seeing happy people makes you happier, so the fact that smelling them would make you happier, too, is probably not so surprising.”
The researchers suggested not only that people could smell happiness, but that if and when they do, they become happier as well.
Professor Gun Semin, co-author of the study and research professor in the department of psychology at Koc University in Istanbul, Turkey, and the Instituto Superior de Psicologia Aplicada in Lisbon, Portugal said, “Human sweat produced when a person is happy induces a state similar to happiness in somebody who inhales this odor.”
Dr. Semin and his team of researchers had 12 young men watch videos designed to stimulate a variety of emotions, including fear and happiness. During the study, the research subjects were all nonsmokers who did not drink alcohol and didn’t engage in any sexual activity or eat any smelly food.
Researchers gathered sweat samples from all of the young men and monitored the reactions of 36 healthy women who were asked to smell the samples. The investigative researchers monitored the women’s facial reactions and found they displayed facial muscle activity, representative of happiness.
The researchers called the reaction a “behavioral synchronization between a sweating person’s emotional state, the sweat generated, and the reaction of the person who sniffs that sweat.”
According to Dr. Pamela Dalton, an olfactory scientist with the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, the findings of this research are “a little surprising.”
Dr. Dalton shared her thoughts on this recent discovery.
“What is interesting about this study is that it suggests a positive emotion can be communicated, which in my opinion is far less important in human evolution and behavior than to be able to transmit and recognize a negative emotion, such as fear or anger.”
Dr. Dalton added she “would expect the ability to communicate a happy emotion to [actually] be less potent than the ability to transmit a negative emotion.”
As of yet, Dr. Semin acknowledges, “we have not demonstrated what the nature of the chemical compound is in sweat.”
On June 3, the findings of this recent study on the smell of happiness were published in Psychological Science.
[Featured image via Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]