Robert Provine, Psychology, in the News

A new study shows that tears may do more than simply express emotion: they might also contain pheromones that affect human behavior. Recent experiments with women’s tears have shown that men who smell women’s tears behave differently than men who smell a saline solution.

Robert R. Provine, professor of psychology, who has studied crying, said the discovery was “a really big deal” because “emotional tears are a very important evolutionary development in humans as a social species” and this “may be evidence of another human pheromone.”

This discovery and Provine’s comments on it were covered in several news outlets, including the New York Times, the Washington Post, Nature News, Discovery News, New Scientist and Bloomberg.

Provine also helped to answer the question of why humans tickle each other in the most recent issue of Popular Science magazine. Tickling, he explains, is partly a mechanism for social bonding between close companions and helps forge relationships between family members and friends. The story, “FYI: What Is the Evolutionary Purpose of Tickling?” appeared in the January issue of Popular Science.


One response to “Robert Provine, Psychology, in the News

  1. Does anyone know of a way to stop excessive tearing for tears that come from happiness, anger, sadness, laughing–even listening to music that is moving, but not sad???? This is embarrassing!

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