Perfume, cologne, body washes and deodorant, all of these help to make us smell desirable. But even though we mask our natural scent with manufactured elixirs we still have a unique smell and it can reveal a lot about us.
If you can’t bear to step outside because you fear being eaten alive from bugs, you have your scent to blame. A study that looked at twins uncovered that genes could play a role in a person’s likelihood of being bit by a mosquito. About 74 volunteers were asked to stick their hand in a Y-shaped tube, while their twin (fraternal or identical) put their hand on the other side. When the mosquitoes were released researchers documented who was bit more. In the case of identical twins they were bit evenly, fraternal twins, on the other hand, showed a different picture. One fraternal twin was bit more than the other revealing that their unique genes which make up their scent made them more prone to being bit.
Odor can reveal how stressed out we are. In fact, dogs detect changes in odor due to stress often. If you notice man’s best friend trying to console you more during times of stress, it’s because the pooch can smell it on you.
Furthermore, stress can cause additional sweating. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll smell more, but it can leave some embarrassing marks.
Friends and enemies
It’s rare that people want to befriend someone who constantly smells like they don’t even own a shower, but even if you smell fresh and lovely, it can still affect who gravitates toward you.
Research from Poland tested the theory that people could smell out personality traits. With the help of 30 men and 30 women volunteers they all had to wear the same cotton t-shirt over the course of three days. One-hundred men and 100 women then smelt the t-shirts of the individuals and were asked to describe the wearer’s personality. Volunteers were able to correctly guess those who were extroverted, dominant or even neurotic simply by smelling their shirts.
Illness, like stress, can contribute to changes in odor, meaning disease can have its own scent. There have been numerous studies where dogs were trained to sniff out illness. For example a study published in European Urology successfully trained dogs to sniff out prostate cancer in 30 out of 33 prostate cancer patients. But smelling illness isn’t just for the dogs, humans have the ability too.
In one study, participants received an injection that would mimic the effects of being sick. Others got a placebo. A group of volunteers sniffed the shirts from these individuals and could tell the difference between those who received a placebo and those who didn’t. Since disease often comes with its own smell, researchers are trying to find a way to pick up on these scents for easier diagnosis.
As you can see the human body has an interesting way of communicating, even if it’s through scent. Whether we’re making friends, or losing them, our scent reveals quite a bit even if you choose to cover it up.
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