And it says, somehow mystifyingly, that people can more-or-less smell each-others’ political beliefs.
Whatever the influence is, it’s got to be extremely-subtle given all possible environmental variables (if this study is not completely BS, of-course).
SO: What the researchers did was to set things up similar to the er, ~somewhat-proven Immune-System-pheromone experiment.
(That’s right; now you have to get your immune-system AND your politics right to hit it off!)
Study-leader Pete Hatemi (who we should note is a POLITICAL scientist) and his colleagues got 20 stongly-partisan volunteers to put gauze pads under their armpits and avoid all perfumes and other people for 24 hours.
(I wonder if 1 day was enough to accumulate enough scent, because other pheromone-trials used T-Shirts worn for 7 days, iirc.)
Either way, they collected the pads, and noted down the participants’ political beliefs, either very liberal or very conservative.
They then did smell tests with 125 completely-different people with stated political views and asked them for their opinions on the scents.
Nobody was consciously-able to identify another person as being liberal or conservative.
BUT they Were able to make startlingly-accurate decisions of personal-taste as to who they liked or disliked.
On Average: Liberals didn’t like Conservatives. After that, pretty much everyone else was neutral about each-other, with Liberals surprisingly being only Neutral about other Liberals.
(Not included: Smell of Russians found terrifying by all.)
Now, this study wasn’t done in a dating-environment, so the long-term-match quality of these results is one more thing to question.
However, the researchers did note that of all social-factors: 1) Couples’ political beliefs are the most closely-matched factor after Religion, and 2) These beliefs do not appear to converge over time.
-> So, they would have had to suss those out earlier, eh? Perhaps the pheromones helped them out?
Interesting, weird stuff, especially given that the researchers further argue there is a set of brain-structure-specific causes that make someone Conservative or Liberal, like sensitivity to disgust or risk.
Check out the rest of the wacky details at the Links:
Photo Credits: “Dogs 1”, by Camila Dequech
• Source: LiveScience
• via: Discovery
• More Coverage: WashingtonPost-Skepticism on the study
• Source Study: AJPS-Assortative Mating on Ideology Could Operate Through Olfactory Cues