Biologists have found a link between the smell and the political ideals of the people

© Fotolia / Minerva Studio Man in suitBiologists have found a link between the smell and the political ideals of the people© Fotolia / Minerva Studio

Neuroscientists from the University of Stockholm have discovered an unusual connection between the acuteness of smell and political preferences of people – the more people react to the smell of sweat and the secretions of others, the more positive he relates to authoritarianism and dictators, the article says, published in Royal Society Open Science.

«We are not necessarily talking about that kind of stuff laid down on a biological level, it is impossible to change in principle. Recent experiments and observations show that the contacts between liberals and supporters of authoritarianism often leads to the fact that their positions are changed after they learn something new,» said Jonas Olofsson (Jonas Olofsson) from the University of Stockholm (Sweden).

In recent years, neuroscientists, biologists and psychologists have found many hints that many social and personal preferences of people are inextricably linked to the their senses and flowed like human evolution in the past. For example, two years ago, they showed that people tend to trust more tall and light-skinned leaders in times of crisis than the rest of the politicians.

Olofsson and his colleagues discovered another unusual example of how the features of work of sense organs and brain may affect social behavior of people watching approximately two hundred volunteers responded to the smell of sweat, urine and other secretions of the body, and studying their political preferences through social surveys.

Comparing the reaction of the people and their political ideals, scientists have found an interesting relationship – the stronger the volunteers reacted to unpleasant body odors and more afraid of pathogenic bacteria and viruses, the more sympathy they showed to authoritarian political leaders and a rigid vertical of power.

«We have uncovered a very clear connection between how strongly people reacted to odours, and their desire to have a strong leader or even a dictator is able to suppress radical protests and to ensure social stability. In such societies, the probability of contact between different social groups is reduced, which, in theory, should protect their members from the spread of disease,» explains Olofsson.

The presence of such ties, as scientists believe, suggests that the tendency to authoritarianism or liberalism can be biologically determined and related to the way our ancestors adapted to life in large groups of their own kind. Vivid disgust reaction related to the odor of sweat or feces, could protect them from epidemics and contagious diseases.

Subsequently, this reaction and its associated emotions has spread to other aspects of human life, including the policy that led to the birth of conservatism and authoritarianism. In the near future, the researchers plan to further study these reactions and to understand how smells can subconsciously cause a person to be hostile to speakers of other ideas, and to know whether it is possible to suppress this reaction.