BO reveals our psyches, say scientists

Body odour can help determine certain personality traits Kalbar / TFN

By smelling someone’s sweat we can work out their personalities.

Body odour can help determine certain personality traits and people who live together longer develop similar taste and smell preferences, according to scientists at the University of Wrocław’s Institute of Psychology.

Researchers at the Institute used human sweat collected from volunteers who completed a personality questionnaire before entering the study. The questionnaire was also completed by two close relatives to get a more accurate understanding of the ‘seat donors’.

Dr. Anna Oleszkiewicz from the Institute said: “Knowing the personality of a given person, we could determine how accurately these traits were deduced from the sweat by the participants of the study, whose task was to sniff these samples." 

She added: "The sense of smell is a fascinating sense and perhaps an underestimated one. We believe that it is worth attention and we continue to discover new links between this sense and the human psyche.”

The results of the study showed that the scent of the human body makes it possible to deduce, whether someone is neurotic - secretive, nervous, or just the opposite.

The scientists have developed a sense of smell (olfactory) memory test, which consists of 32 fragrance sticks. The large number of fragrances - in their opinion – makes it possible to precisely differentiate the level of olfactory memory of the subjects. The test also makes it possible to check if olfactory memory is connected with cognitive abilities.

PhD student Agnieszka Sabiniewicz at the Institute said: "In this case, we have selected several types of memory: working and spatial memory, for which theoretical premises show that such links can actually occur. We also want to check if certain personality traits are also connected with the level of olfactory memory.”

Other interesting conclusions came from research conducted on couples. It turned out that over the years, people living together become similar in terms of their taste and smell preferences. 

"This means that the longer people are together, the longer they eat meals together, spend time together in the same space, the more their preferences concerning smells and flavours become similar," said Dr. Oleszkiewicz.