September 26, 2022

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A new study shows that people all over the world love and hate the same smells – NRK Trøndelag

It tastes like breech, we know it. But what about our sense of smell Is it completely different?

Researchers say not nearly.

No matter where we come from in the world, we love and hate the same smells.

Traditionally, smell has been viewed as something that is culturally learned, but this is not true. We’ve found that culture has little to do with it, says Artin Archamian. He is a researcher at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm.

The odor that we know is mainly determined by the structure of the odor molecule in question.

Results are displayed In the journal Current Biology.

We love vanilla

The new project is a collaboration between researchers at Karolinska Institutet and the University of Oxford.

Among those who participated in the study, vanilla was chosen as the best scent.

Photo: Pixabay

The study included nine groups consisting of people with very different lifestyles. This was to test whether preferences in smell were related to one’s culture.

The groups consisted of various indigenous peoples, some of whom were described as hunters and gatherers, while others subsisted by fishing and farming.

The 235 participants live in completely different surroundings: including the rainforest, the mountains, the coast and the city.

Some of them mentioned that they rarely or never ate food from the West.

– Because our participants live in many different places, we cover a wide range of different scents, says Artin Archamian. In a press release.

The results show that cultures all over the world classify different scents in a similar way, but that there are distinct individuals.

According to the study, “all of us” love the smell of vanilla. Taffes, cheese, and apple juice, on the other hand, make us wrinkle our noses.

toe ventilation

Even with the blue sea in the background, few of us like the smell of stinky toes.

Photo: Colorbox

explanation in evolution?

We humans have about 10 million olfactory cells. They are all located at the top of our nose. The researchers found that some odors were better received by these cells than others.

They asked the participants to rate the different scents from best to worst. At the top of the list was vanilla, followed by ethyl butyrate, a colorless liquid with a fruity smell – in this case peach.

At the bottom of the list were a number of foods that contain isovaleric acid. Among others, cheese, soy milk and apple juice. This acid is also found in foot sweat, and foot sweat was not preferred by the participants.

Artin Archamian believes the findings may be related to human evolution. He believes that the ability to distinguish between good and bad smells, may have simply increased our chances of surviving in the past.

Now we know that perception of smell is universal. It is driven by molecular structure. The next step is to study the reason for this. Then we can relate that knowledge to what happens in our brain where we smell a particular scent, he says.

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