(Telegraph) Why happiness is infectious: you can actually smell joy
By Sarah Knapton, Science Editor 6:19PM BST 15 Apr 2015
Utrecht University in the Netherlands found that odours produced by our bodies can communicate happiness to others
For the first time researchers have found that humans can pick up whether a person is feeling joyful through their smell.
They found that the odours produced by our bodies can communicate our happiness to others – a phenomenon known as chemosignalling.
Chemosignals act as a medium through which people can become ’emotionally synchronised’, outside of their conscious awareness.
Although chemosignalling had previously been shown to convey fear and disgust, little was known about how it related to positive emotions, the researchers from Utrecht University in the Netherlands said.
For their study, they collected the sweat of ‘sender’ participants in happy, fearful and neutral states using pads placed under their armpits while they watched different film clips.
These pads were cut up, put into jars, and presented to a group of ‘receivers’ to sniff, in a random order.
While they sniffed, they were hooked up to an electromyograph, which measured subtle differences in the activity of their facial muscles as a function of the emotion they were experiencing, induced by the sweat.
“Exposure to sweat from happy senders elicited a happier facial expression than did sweat from fearful or neutral senders,” the researchers wrote in the journal Psychological Science.
“Our findings suggest that not only a negative state, but also a positive state (happiness) can be transferred by means of odours.”