We Can Smell People's Personalities and Emotions
In a perfect world, you'd never judge someone until you got to know their personality inside and out -- you know, the whole thing about judging a book by its cover. This is not a perfect world, however -- this is a world where sometimes we need to judge the intentions of a stranger in a split second. Thankfully, evolution has given us all sorts of tools for doing it, whether we know it or not.
"You sort of smell like you might wear my skin as a shawl."
See, there is a reason you can get a feel for some people before they even say a word: Part of it is the way they smell. And no, we don't mean "That guy gave me the creeps because he smelled of human feces and burnt matches." We're talking about subconscious signals you didn't even know were coming from your nose. Researchers actually conducted a study where they asked participants to wear the same shirt every night for three consecutive nights, and during the study they weren't allowed to use soap, deodorant or anything that could mask their natural smell. Afterward, they made another group smell these shirts, and then asked them to guess which personality traits its wearers had most: dominance, neuroticism or extroversion.
Incredibly, the accuracy rate was just as high as when the same participants were asked to gauge people's personalities from watching a video of them. That's right -- your body odor is just as indicative of who you are as your speech or mannerisms. But it goes further than that. Researchers are discovering that each person's individual smell is so unique that it's almost like a fingerprint, unique enough that it could serve as a really unpleasant alternative to DNA analysis. Here's hoping that whatever detection method they come up with involves a machine of some kind so we don't have to conduct lineups by sniffing a bunch of underwear.
"So what are you in for?" *sniff* "Lifting Taylor Swift CDs, huh?"