changingminds.org

How we change what others think, feel, believe and do

 

Disciplines

 

Techniques

 

Principles

 

Explanations

 

Theories

 

 

Home

 

Blog!

 

Quotes

 

Guest articles

 

Analysis

 

Books

 

Help us

 

Links

 

 

Please help
and share:

 

The ChangingMinds Blog!

 

ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 26-May-13

 


Sunday 26-May-13

The smell of anxiety

Have you ever picked up on how other people feel? Empathy is an important human skill that enables us to connect with others and consequently respond to their emotions in appropriate ways. When another person is upset, for example, we will ask them how they are and maybe try to help them feel better.

But how does empathy work? How do we read how others are feeling?

A simple way we read the emotions of others is through interpreting their body language, either consciously or unconsciously. Likewise, we pick up on voice tone and any emotionally significant word patterns. Another factor that may not be obvious is smell. The sense of smell is a primitive system that many animals use to good effect in assessing the world around them, including other animals. We don't go sniffing other people's bodies, but subtle olfactory influences do exist.

An interesting bit of research by Katrin Haegler and colleagues shows that smell can even cause us to behave differently without any intermediate conscious thinking. They collected sweat from both anxious gamblers and non-anxious bike riders, and then exposed subjects to these while asking them to make risky bets. Rather curiously, those who were exposed to the 'anxious sweat' took longer to decide and then made riskier bets.

This seems a curious reaction and even the researchers did not know how to explain it. Perhaps a group of people being threatened by a predator would be emboldened when some of their number became afraid, thereby increasing the chance of somebody stepping up and fighting the attacker.

What does it mean for us? Will casino owners employ scared people to wander around, encouraging others to gamble more? Perhaps more realisitically, when working around anxious people, we should watch how both we and others approach risks. Whenever research shows something, a really good response is to try to observe it, to see if you can tell the difference. Then, if you can detect a difference (and beware of your internal biases making you think you can tell), then look for ways to make use of this knowledge.

Reference:
Haegler K, Zernecke R, Kleemann AM, Albrecht J, Pollatos O, Brückmann H, and Wiesmann M (2010). No fear no risk! Human risk behavior is affected by chemosensory anxiety signals. Neuropsychologia, 48 (13), 3901-8
 


Your comment on this blog:

 

         Your name:
         Your email:

   Please enter code to the right:  
 

                      

 

More Kindle books:

And the big
paperback book


Add/share/save:


 

 


Save the rain


 

 


SalesProCentral

 

Contact Caveat About Students Webmasters Awards Guestbook Feedback Sitemap Changes

 

 

Quick links

Disciplines

* Argument

Brand management

* Change Management

Coaching
+
Communication

Counseling

Game Design

+ Human Resources

+ Job-finding

* Leadership

Marketing

Politics

+ Propaganda

+ Rhetoric

* Negotiation

* Psychoanalysis

* Sales

Sociology

+ Storytelling

+ Teaching

Warfare

Workplace design

 

Techniques

+ Assertiveness

* Body language

* Change techniques

* Closing techniques

+ Conversation

Confidence tricks

* Conversion

* Creative techniques

* General techniques

+ Happiness

+ Hypnotism

+ Interrogation

* Language

+ Listening

* Negotiation tactics

* Objection handling

+ Propaganda

* Problem-solving

* Public speaking

+ Questioning

Using repetition

* Resisting persuasion

+ Self-development

Sequential requests

Stress Management

* Tipping

Using humor

* Willpower

Principles

+ Principles

Explanations

* Behaviors

+ Beliefs

Brain stuff

Conditioning

+ Coping Mechanisms

+ Critical Theory

+ Culture

Decisions

* Emotions

Evolution

Gender

+ Games

Groups

+ Identity

+ Learning

Meaning

Memory

Motivation

+ Models

* Needs

+ Personality

+ Power

* Preferences

+ Research

Relationships

+ SIFT Model

+ Social Research

Stress

+ Trust

+ Values

Theories

* Alphabetic list

* Theory types

 


  © Changing Minds 2002-2013

  Massive Content -- Maximum Speed

TOP