By Robert Sanders, Media Relations.
BERKELEY – Just a few whiffs of a chemical found in male sweat is enough to raise levels of cortisol, a hormone commonly associated with alertness or stress, in heterosexual women, according to a new study by University of California, Berkeley, scientists.
The study, reported this week in The Journal of Neuroscience, provides the first direct evidence that humans, like rats, moths and butterflies, secrete a scent that affects the physiology of the opposite sex.
“This is the first time anyone has demonstrated that a change in women’s hormonal levels is induced by sniffing an identified compound of male sweat,” as opposed to applying a chemical to the upper lip, said study leader Claire Wyart, a post-doctoral fellow at UC Berkeley.
The team’s work was inspired by previous studies by Wyart’s colleague Noam Sobel, associate professor of psychology at UC Berkeley and director of the Berkeley Olfactory Research Program. He found that the chemical androstadienone – a compound found in male sweat and an additive in perfumes and colognes – changed mood, sexual arousal, physiological arousal and brain activation in women. Read full press release below…
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