Smell of women's tears reduces aggression in men

Originally published at: Smell of women's tears reduces aggression in men - Boing Boing


Yeah… given how many women are hurt or killed by their intimate partners each year, who are men, I’m not sure it’s working all that well… :rage:


Maybe I’m just missing something but I didn’t see anything in those abstracts that indicated if they bothered to check if this effect is limited to women’s tears or just human tears in general. Or for that matter, if the reduction in aggression is an effect that only applies to men.


Maybe a new form of Tear Gas might be deployed to de-escalate violent situations? :thinking:


In what circumstance would aggressive men be sniffing these tears? That seems like a weirdly improbable and deliberate thing that needs to happen for this to have a plausible evolutionary benefit.


The original article on sexual and testosterone effects was from 10-15 years ago. But as I recall, they only tested women’s tears on men, not any other combination of variables.


Gee, I wonder why some might find that an important thing to study… not like women are more likely to be hurt or killed by men that they know or anything, right? /s


Maybe Jeff Winger was on to something when he said he’s been saving up a bottle of Annie’s tears and building up an immunity?


I think that was clearly a part of the assumption the researchers were making. I also happen to think it’s a limitation to their conclusions that they didn’t examine other iterations. But I’m just offering insight into a project I’m familiar with in response to @Brainspore, not saying the subject isn’t worth studying. My whole professional life is dedicated to fighting sexual abuse and violence, so I take the matter pretty seriously.


Big time. Like, is it all emotional tears, or specifically women’s tears? What about children’s tears?
It seems like, if they’re hoping to turn this into something that can be used to reduce aggression, a logical next step would be to analyze tears from different groups to find the similarities.
What an odd thing. How do they gather the tears?


This is an ongoing problem, though, with studies that focus on women and our well being being ignored or underfunded, in a number of contexts. :woman_shrugging: That doesn’t mean other iterations shouldn’t be studied, but maybe we should get some priority for once?

Sure, I don’t doubt it. But this is a problem (meaning women’s safety being relegated to secondary status, as you well know) that should be addressed more often. But that happens, and some of the first questions is whether or not this should be prioritized. It’s very frustrating.

One also wonders if these findings was replicated in other studies?


The standard for gathering emotional tears is sad movies.


Do they give you a little jar, or is it sopped up on an absorbent cloth?
I could definitely contribute to this as a citizen scientist! Sometimes cheesy commercials even get me going.


Not cutting onions?


Ooh, I know this one!
No, bc those tears have a different chemical make up. Isn’t that wild?
When we cry emotionally, our bodies are also evacuating depressants, iirc.
When we cry from cutting onions, no depressants.


I’m not sure how these researchers specifically did so but the norm is to use a capillary tube placed just below the lower eyelid.

And I wasn’t suggesting otherwise. I think the only way to prioritize safety is with good science though, and saying “women’s tears suppress men’s violence (or sex drive since I’m only familiar with the original study not this one focused on violence)” isn’t good science when only one combination of variables is addressed. But those criticisms were not saying the research isn’t valuable or that women’s issues shouldn’t be funded or prioritized. Your response is legitimate and I share your frustration. But I feel that maybe I’m not the target since I don’t think we disagree.


Would the source of the tears (irritants vs. emotions) change the make up of the tears?

Pee Wee Herman Wow GIF

So neat!

I think this is probably a problem with science reporting rather than the study itself? That kind of lazy, sloppy reporting happens all the time with what are often more nuanced scientific studies…



Good question.

Like you’ve already asserted, the whole study seems like bad, cherry-picked “science,” given how much unchecked male aggression we see constantly in the world around us.


Yeah, and as I mentioned, how scientific studies are reported is a major part of the problem… it might be a perfectly cromulent study, but it’s hard to know depending on how the outlet framed it…


Lol. Never worked on my dad…

“You’re trying to make me feel guilty!? You manipulative little b***! You wanna cry about something!!!”

Anecdote and all that but I call bullshit.