Feeling inexplicably close to someone you’ve never met? Congratulations, you are likely to fall in love at first sight.
What? You are heterosexual, this person is the same gender as you? Then you should just meet a good friend who has the same “smell”.
A study published in Science Advances on June 24 points out that smell may be the source of sudden goodwill…
Good friend, it smells almost
Close friends, even the same body odor? This is real.
This time, scientists invited 20 pairs of close friends to participate in the experiment. The subjects were between the ages of 22 and 39 and of the same gender. They claimed that they had hit it off with a friend and made up their minds to develop a friendship with each other before exchanging personal information.
During the experiment, the subjects strictly followed the “odor control” protocol. They avoid spicy food, stay away from pets or partners, and rest for 6 hours in clean cotton T-shirts.
Subsequently, the T-shirts, which are used as body odor carriers, were collected by the researchers and sent to an “electronic nose” smart device for molecular composition analysis. At the same time, in order to ensure the accuracy of the results, the researchers also divided the T-shirts into two groups (may be from close friends or randomly assigned), and invited 25 additional volunteers to “artificially distinguish the taste”.
As a result, both machines and humans accurately identified: the smell of T-shirts of close friends is very similar, while the smell of T-shirts of strangers is “worldly different”.
If you want to make friends, you must first “taste”
Through the above experiments, the researchers determined that smell is closely related to making friends.
But does friendship specifically shape smell? Or does smell inspire friendship? They are not sure (for example, similar lifestyle habits among friends, similar dietary preferences, and possibly similar body odors).
In order to clarify the causal relationship between the two, the researchers recruited a new group of volunteers who did not know each other, and carried out another test called the “mirror game” – the game requires volunteers to pair up and communicate without words. imitating each other’s actions.
After the test, the researchers invited them to participate in the favorability survey. The results showed that 1/3 of the volunteers and their partners had a good impression of each other after completing the test, and said they looked forward to seeing each other more often. The researchers found that the odor molecules of these people also displayed a high similarity.
And the volunteers who said they were “insensitive” to each other also had a low similarity in body odor, and could even be called “irrelevant”.
”Using odor similarity analysis, we finally succeeded in predicting whether 77% of the volunteers were in sync, and the prediction accuracy for those who were out of sync was 68%,” the researchers said. “What’s more, people with more similar smells are more satisfied with each other, and are more tacit and understand each other.”
What is the principle of “smell the fragrance and know friends”?
In non-human mammals, “smell” is an important social tool, and many animals rely on it to distinguish between friend and foe.
But in human social situations, it’s not polite to “smell close to each other”. So usually, “communication between people mainly relies on language, and the importance of smell is naturally weakened.” This is also an important reason why the social role of “smell” has been seriously underestimated.
This research proves that humans are no different from animals when it comes to “smell and recognize friends”—they are more likely to become friends with similar “smell” (similar body odor).
The researchers speculate that this is because the brain has adapted to the smell it emits and is less prone to fear of the same smell. On the contrary, when a stranger with a strange body odor approaches, the brain has to be alert, and the amygdala, which is the “fear center”, is activated incidentally, triggering a series of negative emotions.
This may also explain why you always feel at ease with your close friends.