A new experiment from the University of Dusseldorf, Germany, studied students who were facing oral exams. They put absorbent pads under the armpits of students an hour before taking their exams. They tested the same students with absorbent pads again after they performed physical exercise.
A different group of students then sniffed the sweat from both samples while their brains were being scanned. While they couldn't tell the difference between the two types of sweat (pre-exam vs physical exercise), their brains showed different activity when sampling the pre-exam sweat. The areas of the brain that process social and emotional signals lit up including areas for empathy.
The conclusion? Anxiety triggers the release of a chemical automatically causing similar feelings in others who sniff the chemical. (Even though there is no conscious awareness). This could allow fear to spread quickly and accelerate our ability to run from danger.
The lesson? Prepare for your sales call or presentation, slab on some deodorant and don't sweat it!