Every third person these days (and even young people aged between 25 and 30) is stressed and depressed. A project called POTION is developed under coordination of Professor Enzo Pasquale Scilingo in Italy, at the University of Pisa (Department of Information Engineering), researching chemosignals of the human body. The goal is to find something to help people in need using specific body odors generated in specific circumstances by other people. It’s like an emotional contagion. ‘If we had a spray of happiness … If we can find some odour which can induce a happy state – or a general positive state – I think we can help many, many people,’ Prof. Scilingo said as an example, because „the smell” of happiness can inspire a positive state in other people.
The researchers use videos to induce fear or happiness in people, and then collect their sweat to analyse which chemical compounds are released with each emotion. It’s a new and uncomon way to think about treating depression or phobias. ‘The next step is to synthesise the odours and … investigate how they induce emotions in others,’ said Prof. Scilingo. The POTION researchers are also investigating how odours impact people’s social interactions, and sense of inclusion or exclusion from others. As about the „spray of happiness,” it will be eventually produced within a few years, Professor Scilingo hopes and probably many people reading this will hope too because maybe it will al least increase the efficacy of the actual therapy..