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Science Says You Can Smell a Person’s Political Views. We Must Smell Fantastic

When can I get tinfoil hat wearer-scented cologne?

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A new study shows that body odor and political views may actually be connected. Do you think you become invisible to noses perception filter-style if you stop following politics altogether? We could make a killing in the deodorant market. Imagine: “Apathy” by The Mary Sue.

According to a study published this month in the American Journal of Political Science, research has shown that people tend to wind up with mates who share their political beliefs, but they’ve been unable to figure out how. Strangely, it doesn’t appear as though it’s caused by deliberately seeking out like-minded individuals, but it may have to do with an unconscious reaction to how they smell.

The study had participants identify their political beliefs and then wear gauze taped under their armpits for 24 hours. Then, 125 other lucky participants were asked to smell the pit-gauze and guess the political ideology of the wearer. In terms of deliberately identifying political affiliations based on scent, people weren’t very good at it. That’s probably because I don’t smell like trees and drum circles and equality (whatever that smells like. We’ve yet to find it for testing), and people farther to the right—politically speaking—don’t smell like gunpowder, cigars, and American flags. Probably.

But what they found was that people were great at picking up on the political alignment of scents without actually knowing it. When asked to rank how pleasing the odors were—truly a great undertaking when sticking your nose in someone’s sweat-soaked pit lint—test subjects mostly ranked the smell of those with similar political beliefs as preferable to that of people on the opposite side of the spectrum.

So not only do people actually become attracted or repulsed by the smell of other’s beliefs, but couple this with the fact that alcohol improves your sense of smell, and we can maybe extrapolate that there’s a scientific reason why alcohol and family gatherings together tend to explode into drunken ideological yelling arguments. You literally cannot stand the smell of their bullshit anymore. Isn’t science amazing?

(via LiveScience, image via Edward Simpson)

Previously in smelly science

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Dan is a video game modding hobbyist and secret ninja who lives in North Carolina with his wife, Lisa Brown, and his dog, Liz Lemon, both of whom are the best.