Scientists have identified the most pleasant smell for all people

(ORDO NEWS) — The perception of smells turned out to be universal for representatives of different countries, regions and cultures.

The perception of different smells – both pleasant and, on the contrary, repulsive – is generally the same among people, despite all cultural differences.

Experiments with representatives of different cultures and groups with completely different lifestyles have shown that most people prefer the same flavor: vanilla among those offered in the experiment.

This result points to the universality of odor perception and its evolutionary value to our species. Scientists write about this in an article published in the journal Current Biology .

It is assumed that the perception of odors as pleasant or unpleasant should depend on at least several factors: personal experience, local cultural tradition, and properties that are universal for all people. All this has been shown before.

But to better understand what each of them contributes, Artin Arshamian and his colleagues in Australia and Sweden conducted new experiments with almost 300 volunteers from different regions, countries and cultures.

The sample included representatives of groups of hunters and gatherers, ordinary rural residents and city dwellers of the largest metropolitan areas, inhabitants of the rainforests of Thailand, Mexican deserts, the highlands of Ecuador and the skyscrapers of New York.

Each participant was offered a set of ten fragrances, which he had to arrange from the most pleasant, to his taste, to the most repulsive.

Scientists have identified the most pleasant smell for all people 2

Top 3 in terms of attractiveness were the aromas of vanillin, ethyl butyrate (has a pronounced fruity smell) and linalool (fruity-floral).

The most unpleasant was the smell of isovaleric acid, which is produced by some bacteria when processing protein foods, and which is part of the smell of stale socks and some varieties of cheese “for an amateur.”

According to the authors of the study, the position in this ranking was associated with local culture by only six percent; 54 percent it depended on personal preferences, 40 percent – on the perception that is universal for all people.

This seems to be the legacy of a long evolutionary prehistory and countless generations, for which the perception of smells served as one of the most reliable ways to assess, for example, the quality of potential food.

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