The research, by P and G Beauty, the makers of SecretTM deodorants, and lead investigator Pamela Dalton, PhD. MPH, member of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, indicate that the odour from stress-related sweat specifically impacts social judgments of one's confidence, trustworthiness and competence.
The ability of human body odour to communicate information between individuals is supported by an ever-expanding body of research.
Not only have body odor signals been shown to convey messages about genetic connection, dating and general health, but body odours produced from individuals in specific emotional states have been shown to affect both the neural and behavioral states of the receiver, whether or not they are consciously aware of the source of the body odour.
"Stress-induced sweat, the worst smelling of the three causes of sweat, can occur unexpectedly at any point in the day, often becoming a vicious cycle," Dr. Susan Biehle-Hulette, Procter and Gamble and Secret brand senior scientist for product development, said.
"Research demonstrates there are three causes of sweat: physical exertion, environmental heat and stress."
"Sweat caused by physical activity (internal thermal stress) and environmental heat (external thermal stress) are produced by secretions from the eccrine sweat gland, while stress (emotional) sweat is produced by secretions from the eccrine and apocrine gland, and as this sweat mixes with bacteria on our skin, the result is a distinguishably foul odour," she said.
The study is published in the journal PLOS ONE.