Volume 89 Issue 2 | p. 31 | Concentrates
Issue Date: January 10, 2011

Sad Tears Carry Chemical Signals

Scientists unearth a function for emotional tears—they can chemically influence the behavior of other individuals
Department: Science & Technology
Keywords: tears, signaling

Human tears carry more than just emotional baggage, according to a study. They also carry chemical signals that can influence the behavior of other individuals. Only humans are thought to shed tears as a result of their emotions, whether happy or sad. Intrigued that the chemical makeup of such emotional tears is different from that of tears generated reflexively to protect the eye, Noam Sobel of Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science and colleagues . . .

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