Science Questions

In the emotional tears experiment, did the subjects know what they were smelling?

Sun, 9th Jan 2011

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Question

Breagon Betts, Second Life asked:

In the emotional tears experiment (reported at naksci.com/news/16771), did the subjects know what they were smelling?

Answer

In the paper it says:

"24 men first sniffed a jar containing a compound which was either fresh tears or saline which was collected from the donor women."

And then later on they said:

“To keep them smelling the substance during the study, the compounds were deposited onto a pad, pasted onto the subject’s upper lip, directly under his nostrils.” 

So, the subjects were blind to what they're actually smelling.  They didn’t know it was tears.  They just knew that they were being asked to smell something.

Read more about this experiment, including a link to the original paper here.

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