(ORDO NEWS) — A new study has found that the smells people like or dislike are more important than cultural background.
Researchers have figured out what smells like or dislike people from different cultures
In the study, published in the journal Current Biology , scientists brought together an international group of volunteers to carry out work both in experimental and field settings.
The volunteers were selected from different parts of the world and different backgrounds, including some indigenous groups who were rarely exposed to smells and food outside of their own culture. A total of 235 people rated different smells.
“We wanted to find out if people all over the world perceive smells in the same way and like the same types of smells, or is it something cultural.
Traditionally this has been considered cultural, but we can show that culture has very little to do with it,” the scientists write.
So what smells do people like?
The most pleasant and versatile smell was the smell of vanilla. Not every participant called it their favorite, but almost everyone found it pleasant and versatile.
The smell of the so-called isovaleric acid was called the most unpleasant odor. It is found in foods such as soy milk and cheese, and is also part of the smell of foot sweat.
According to the scientists, differences in the perception of odors were caused by culture to a small extent (6%).
For the most part, this was the individual preferences of the participants (54%), as well as the molecular profile of the aromatic chemical (40%).
“Now we know that there is a universal perception of smell, driven by molecular structure, and this explains why we like or dislike a certain smell.
The next step is to explore why this is so by relating this knowledge to what happens in the brain when we smell a certain smell,” the researchers conclude.
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