So you think you’re pretty good at reading people? Well, imagine being able to guess a person’s personality from their body odor, or from their chronic halitosis! While that might sound like pure science fiction, it has lately become science fact. Several groups of researchers recently discovered that you can tell a lot about someone by their scent.
Of course, this might not be totally surprising. In a limited way, we can all make small guesses about each other based on what we smell.
Think of it this way. If you meet someone for the first time and they give off tremendous body odor, you don’t have to be Sherlock Holmes to deduce that this person probably doesn’t pay much attention to their personal hygiene. Conversely, if someone wears perfume or cologne that smells really enticing, you might be inclined to be attracted to them (even if you later discover they’re a total jerk).
The same is pretty much true for chronic halitosis. Bad breath is dead giveaway that someone doesn’t take care of their teeth, or only tries to halfheartedly. After all, it isn’t that hard to get your hands on specialty breath freshening products that can quickly eliminate bacteria and neutralize odors.
If you’ve ever suffered from bad breath or body odor, you might want to check out a study that was recently released in the European Journal of Personality. Its authors, a trio of Polish psychologists, found that participants were able to guess a person’s personality simply by smelling them or an article of their clothing.
Here’s how it worked.
Personality experts from the University of Wroclaw and Opole University asked 60 volunteers to spend three days wearing plain white undershirts, the type you might buy in pack of three for five bucks.