When you think of happiness, you probably think of a person smiling or laughing. Recent research has shown that there may be other more subtle cues that humans pick up on others’ happiness, thorough scent.

A study published in the journal Psychological Science by a multi-university team of researchers in Europe suggests that when people experience the emotion of happiness, chemicals are released in the body that are excreted as sweat. People nearby pick up on the happy scent and actually may feel more upbeat themselves because of it.

Sweat samples were gathered from 12 healthy young men after they had watched videos meant to induce a variety of emotions, including happiness and fear.

Thirty-six healthy young women were recruited for the study as smellers. The women smelled the sweat samples and their facial and body reactions were closely monitored. Researchers explained that the sample of smellers was confined to women because women have been shown to have a more sensitive sense of smell and are more attune to emotional signaling.

The research team analyzed the expressions of the women and concluded that the women who smelled sweat from men who were experiencing happiness at the time exhibited facial expressions that were indicative of happiness. In other words, the women could tell via scent that the men were happy and that made them happy.

Previous studies have suggested that negative emotions, such as anger and fear, can be communicated via sweat. From an evolutionary perspective, these emotions may have helped our ancestors to know when there was danger nearby. Positive emotions may have been less important to communicate chemically, but may have had other social benefits.

Back to Blog

With 3 convenient locations across the Orlando area, we’re never far away.

Find your ENT Request Appointment
Contact us media
Accessibility: If you are vision-impaired or have some other impairment covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act or a similar law, and you wish to discuss potential accommodations related to using this website, please contact our Accessibility Manager at .