Some Personality Traits Affect How You Smell
Getting to know someone usually requires at least a little conversation. But a new study suggests you can get a hint of an individual’s personality through his or her scent alone.
Participants in the study assessed, with some degree of accuracy, how outgoing, anxious or dominant people were after only taking a whiff of their clothes. The study is the first to test whether personality traits can be discerned through body odor.
While the match-up between responses by the judges and the judged were not perfect, they do suggest that, when forming a first impression, we take into account a person’s smell, as well as visual and audible cues to their personality traits, the researchers said.
The raters predicted the donor’s level of extroversion and neuroticism through smell about as accurately as participants in a different study predicted personality traits based on a video depicting a person’s behavior, said Agnieszka Sorokowska, a doctoral candidate at the University of Wroclaw, in Poland.
Judgments of dominance were most accurate in the case where an individual rater was assessing the odor of someone who was the opposite sex, suggesting such judgments are especially important when it comes to choosing a mate.