People who stink together might stick together, new research suggests.
The study, published in ScienceAdvances on Friday, confirmed that a person’s body odor — and ability to smell — may impact their search for platonic pals of the same sex.
“The gist is that people who ‘click’ with each other have similar body odor,” said lead study author Inbal Ravreby, a doctoral student at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot, Israel, reported UPI.
Researchers said they spent six months on social media to locate 20 same-sex besties, all of whom agreed they’d “clicked” immediately — meaning “a strong sense of bonding formed almost instantaneously between them.”
They also gathered pairs of complete strangers — grouped based on scent — to play a game, then report whether they’d “clicked” at the end. Researchers found that similarly scented strangers “liked each other, understood each other, felt there was chemistry between them and that they could be friends.”
They used an “electronic nose” fitted with odor sensors, as well as human “smellers,” to help predict which pairs of strangers could eventually become mates.
“We found that by chemical body odor similarity as indicated by the electronic nose, we could predict clicking [with] 71% accuracy” among the paired participants, Ravreby said.
The human ratings, researchers noted, are “subjective,” adding that they “were not trained in any way, so they may represent the ratings of the general, untrained population,” she explained. Meanwhile, the e-nose based its analysis on chemical similarities of scents.
“In our electronic nose there are 10 metal oxide sensors, each coated with a different material conferring chemical specificity,” Ravreby explained. “Thus, each sample is potentially made of 10 responses that combine to generate a specific pattern associated with an odor. For our body odor samples, five sensors were activated.”
Results from both the e-nose, along with notes from the designated “smellers,” strongly suggested that “click-friends” smell more similar compared to more random pairs of participants.
The findings added understanding to the unconscious modes of attractions — and avoidance — but also indicated that a loss of smell may also mean a “loss of important social information that influences our social behavior,” said Ravreby.