Hate the smell of BO? You might be xenophobic, study claims

Hate the smell of BO? You might be xenophobic: Bizarre study finds people who are sensitive to disgusting smells are more likely to have negative attitudes towards migrants

  • Disgust at the smell of faeces, sweat and urine may be linked to xenophobia
  • Scientists claim that steering clear of disgusting smells is a natural mechanism
  • But when that works into overdrive it could trigger hostility towards refugees 

Bizarre new research claims that people with a sensitive nose for disgusting smells are more likely to be xenophobic.

In a study across nine countries, scientists have linked a repulsion to sweat, bad breath and smelly feet with heightened disliking for refugees. 

Steering clear of stenches is a natural mechanism that helps us avoid illnesses, experts at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm explain.

But when working into overdrive, this may trigger hostility towards refugees who are perceived to have ‘dissimilar’ hygiene and food habits.

‘Individuals more easily disgusted by body odours are also more prone to having negative attitudes towards refugees,’ the scientists wrote.  

Disgust at the smell of faeces, sweat and urine may be linked to xenophobia, a study claims (stock image)

In a study across nine different countries, scientists examined participant views on refugees. Pictured: newly arrived Somali refugees wait in a line at the profiling and resigtration centre in the Dadaab refugee camp

‘As in previous work prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, this relationship was partially explained by the perceived dissimilarity of the outgroup in norms relating to basic practices such as food preparation and hygiene.’

READ MORE: Scientists reveal the worst smells they have encountered in the natural world

Scientists reveal the worst smells they have encountered in the natural world

Nearly 7,000 participants took part in the study which examined opinions across the UK, New Zealand, Canada, Nigeria, Kenya, Hong Kong, Chile, Italy and Sweden.

When assessing body odour sensitivity, participants were asked to rank scents on a one-to-five scale of perceived disgustingness.

Human smells like sweat, urine, feet, gas, breath, upper body sweat and faeces were included in the survey.

These were incorporated into different scenarios such as: ‘you are alone at home and notice that your feet smell strongly’, and ‘you are sitting next to and notice that their feet smell strongly’. 

A fictional scenario was then used to assess attitudes towards a fictional group known as the ‘Drashnean refugees’. 

Researchers posed a situation in which the Drashnean group from Eastern Africa or Eastern Europe had been experiencing a ‘great deal of civil unrest in the recent years’.

They explained: ‘As a result of these conditions, many people from this country are trying to leave. 

‘A large number of these refugees are seeking to immigrate to your country.’

Participants then answered numerous questions about the group, taking into account food, hygiene and sanitary practices.

One question asked how much they ‘agree that Drashneans could bring health-related problems’ into the country, while another looked at potential criminality.

The results revealed that the participants who scored highly for sensitivity to disgusting smells were more likely to have negative attitudes towards migrants.

Experts claim that their results support ‘a theoretical notion of how pathogen avoidance is associated with social attitudes’.

They said: ‘This main finding was observed in a diverse sample from nine countries across the globe and was similar for attitudes toward refugees from Eastern Africa and Eastern Europe.’ 

‘Our results support the theoretical notion that traditional norms provide protection against pathogens and that outgroups are viewed negatively in part because they are viewed as challenging these norms.’

Is THIS the key to curing social anxiety? Scientists say sniffing someone else’s BODY ODOUR can help treat the condition 

Some of the more conventional treatments for anxiety include psychotherapy, medication and self-help.

But researchers have now proposed a slightly more gruesome alternative – sniffing someone else’s body odour. 

The European experts obtained underarm sweat from volunteers and exposed it to patients while they were undergoing mindfulness therapy for social anxiety.

Anxiety was reduced by more than a third compared with the use of mindfulness therapy on its own, they found – but the reasons why are as yet unclear.  

It’s already known that human body odour – commonly known as BO – triggers aggression in women but blocks aggression in men. 

Read more 

Source: Read Full Article

Previous post Disneyland Announces Opening Date for ‘Rogers the Musical’ at Disney California Adventure Park
Next post 'Grey's Anatomy' actress loses home and four pets in tragic house fire, plus more stars' near-death experiences