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People who have similar body odours are more likely to make friends, study shows 

It is already known that mammals such as dogs sniff each other to determine who is friend or foe.

Now, researchers in Israel have found that people are doing the same thing, albeit on a more “hidden” and unconscious level.

By sniffing clothes with a device called an “eNose,” the experts found that people with similar body odors are more likely to make friends with each other.

These new results suggest that the sense of smell may play a greater role in human social interactions than previously thought.

Experts have found that people tend to befriend people with a similar body odor by sniffing their clothes with a special device

Experts have found that people tend to befriend people with a similar body odor by sniffing their clothes with a special device

DO PEOPLE SMELL EACH OTHER LIKE DOGS?

Anyone who has ever walked a dog knows that their dog can usually tell from a distance whether an approaching dog is friend or foe.

When in doubt, when the two dogs meet, they can gently sniff each other before deciding whether to play or bark viciously.

This dominant role of the sense of smell in social interactions has been extensively documented in all terrestrial mammals except humans.

Researchers wanted to see if this is because humans don’t use their noses in social environments like all other mammals, or if this behavior is done by humans, but covertly.

The new study was conducted by experts at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel and published in the journal scientific progress

“Since people seek friends who are similar to themselves, we hypothesized that people can smell themselves and others to unconsciously estimate the similarity of body odor, which in turn may promote friendship,” the authors say.

“Perfect strangers may start to interest us sooner than at first glance.”

It’s already known that people tend to befriend others who are similar in appearance, background, values ​​and even in measures such as brain activity, previous studies suggest.

So the researchers hypothesized that humans use their noses in social settings just like other land mammals, but in a covert way rather than overtly.

According to the team, we unconsciously sniff ourselves and others, make subliminal comparisons, and then attract others who smell like us.

To prove this, the team recruited couples of “click friends” – non-romantic same-sex friends whose friendships had originally formed very quickly (friends who had “clicked”).

Researchers collected body odor samples from the click friends and conducted two sets of experiments to compare the samples to those from random pairs of individuals.

By smelling clothes with a device called 'eNose' (pictured), the experts found that people with similar body odors are more likely to make friends with each other

By smelling clothes with a device called ‘eNose’ (pictured), the experts found that people with similar body odors are more likely to make friends with each other

Pictured is study author graduate student Inbal Ravreby using the eNose on participants' clothing in the lab

Pictured is study author graduate student Inbal Ravreby using the eNose on participants’ clothing in the lab

PEOPLE SELECT PARTNERS WITH SIMILAR BODY ODOUR: 2019 STUDY

People select partners with similar body odor, except for women who use hormonal contraceptives, a 2019 study found.

Pairs from Scotland gave body odor samples both with and without scented deodorant, with other participants ranking the scent pairs by similarity.

Researchers found not only that we are attracted to people who smell the same as us, but that certain contraceptives can alter this perception.

read more

In the first set of experiments, they used a device known as an electronic nose or eNose, which assessed the chemical signatures of each couple’s scents on their t-shirts.

Their eNose was equipped with 10 metal oxide sensors, each coated with a different material to detect specific chemicals.

In the second experiment, they asked other volunteers to smell the two groups of body odor samples to assess similarities measured by human perception.

In both types of experiments, click friends were found to smell significantly more like each other than the individuals in the random pairs.

Next, the team wanted to rule out the possibility that the similarity of body odor was a result of click friendships, rather than a contributing cause.

For example, there was a chance that friends had a similar smell because they ate the same type of food or shared other life experiences that affect body odor.

To do this, they conducted an additional series of experiments, where she used an eNose to “smell” some volunteers who were complete strangers to each other, then asked them to engage in non-verbal social interactions in pairs. .

This non-verbal interaction included the Mirror Game, where they faced each other less than two feet apart and tried to mirror each other’s hand movements.

The experts believe that we smell others just like dogs, but on a more hidden and subconscious level

The experts believe that we smell others just like dogs, but on a more hidden and subconscious level

“This short distance allowed them to smell each other (usually unconsciously), as happens in everyday conversation,” study co-author Inbal Ravreby told MailOnline.

After each such interaction, the participants rated the other person in terms of how much they loved that person and how likely they were to become friends.

Subsequent analysis revealed that the individuals who had more positive interactions did indeed smoke more towards each other, as determined by the eNose.

When they fed the data into a computer model, researchers were able to predict with 71 percent accuracy which two individuals would have a positive social interaction based on eNose data alone.

Therefore, researchers believe that body odor contains information that can predict the quality of social interactions between strangers and whether they can become friends.

The researchers say that people create a body odor ‘template’ of themselves and then subconsciously compare it to this template.

“Previous studies on body odor indeed support the idea that self-referential processing can mediate the identification of body odor in humans, just as it does in other primates,” they conclude.

HOW DO WE SMELL? (VERY GOOD THANKS)

Our ability to smell comes from specialized sensory cells called olfactory sensory neurons.

These are found in a small patch of tissue high up in the nose.

These cells communicate directly with the brain.

Each olfactory neuron has one odor receptor.

Microscopic molecules released by substances around us – be it coffee brewing or pine trees in a forest – stimulate these receptors.

Once neurons detect the molecules, they send messages to our brains, which identify the smell.

There are more odors in the environment than there are receptors, and each molecule can stimulate a combination of receptors, creating a unique representation in the brain.

These representations are registered by the brain as a particular smell.

Smells reach the olfactory sensory neurons through two pathways.

The first way is through our nostrils.

The second path is through a canal that connects the roof of the throat to the nose.

Chewing food releases aromas that access the olfactory neurons through the second channel.

When the duct is blocked, such as when our nose is blocked by a cold or the flu, smells cannot reach the sensory cells stimulated by smells.

As a result, we lose much of our ability to enjoy the taste of a food.

Our senses of smell and taste work closely together.

Without the olfactory sensory neurons, familiar flavors like chocolate or oranges would be difficult to distinguish.

Without fragrance, foods tend to taste bland and have little or no flavor.

Some people who go to the doctor thinking they have lost their sense of smell are surprised to learn that they have lost their sense of smell instead.

Smell is responsible for registering taste in our brains, while the five tastes – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and umami – register on the tongue.

Our sense of smell is also affected by something called the common chemical sense.

This sense organ includes thousands of nerve endings, especially on the moist surfaces of the eyes, nose, mouth and throat.

These nerve endings help us perceive irritants, such as the tear-inducing power of an onion or the refreshing coolness of menthol.

Source: US National Institutes of Health

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