Scientists discover the best and worst smell in the world. Understand

A survey organized by scientists from Sweden’s Karolinka Institute and the UK’s University of Oxford shows that the world’s population agrees on at least two things. The best smell in the world is vanilla and the worst is foot odor.

“We wanted to examine whether people around the world have the same perception of smell and like the same types of odors, or if this is something that is culturally learned,” explained Artin Arshamian, a researcher in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience at the Karolinska Institute.

According to work published in the scientific journal Current Biology, the perception of whether a smell is good or bad is mainly determined by the molecular structure of the specific odor.

For the study, 235 subjects were asked to rate smells on a scale from pleasant to unpleasant. Results showed individual variation within groups and overall correspondence on which odors were pleasant and unpleasant.

disparate environments

In the group of volunteers, there were people who live in isolated communities in Mexico, Ecuador and Malaysia and residents of large urban centers. “Because these groups live in such disparate odorous environments as rainforest, coast, mountain and city, we captured many different types of odor experiences,” Arshamian explained in a press release.

Their scent perceptions were cross-referenced with information from a large database of New York residents and the scent of vanilla was considered the most pleasant, followed by the scent of peach. Foot odor – which is composed of isovaleric acid molecules – was what caused the greatest repulsion.

The researchers’ hypothesis is that our species has learned to like or reject odor molecules for survival reasons and this has ended up inscribed in our genetic code.

About Abhishek Pratap

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