It has been shown that the presence of conspecifics modulates human vigilance strategies as is the case with animal species. Mere presence has been found to reduce vigilance. However, animal research has also shown that chemosignals (e.g., sweat) produced during fear-inducing situations modulate individuals’ threat detection strategies. In the case of humans, little is known about how exposure to conspecifics’ fear chemosignals modulates vigilance and threat detection effectiveness. This study (N = 59) examined how human fear chemosignals affect vigilance strategies and threat avoidance in its receivers. We relied on a paradigm that simulates a “foraging under threat” situation in the lab, integrated with an eye-tracker to examine the attention allocation. Our results showed that the exposure to fear chemosignals (vs. rest chemosignals and a no-sweat condition) while not changing vigilance behavior leads to faster answers to threatening events. In conclusion, fear chemosignals seem to constitute an important warning signal for human beings, possibly leading their receiver to a readiness state that allows faster reactions to threat-related events.

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