- The Washington Times - Monday, September 15, 2014

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Politics stink? Maybe. A new study reveals that people are attracted to the smell of others with similar political opinions - an idea that also helps explain why so many couples share political views. This is no random conclusion. Researchers from three major universities persuaded 125 participants to evaluate the body odor of 21 “strong” liberal and conservatives who were cooperative indeed. All washed with scent-free soap, then taped little cotton gauze squares in their underarms for 24 hours to get the sample scent.

And voila.

“People could not predict the political ideology of others by smell if you asked them, but they differentially found the smell of those who aligned with them more attractive. So I believe smell conveys important information about long-term affinity in political ideology that becomes incorporated into a key component of subconscious attraction,” says Rose McDermott, professor of political science at Brown University and lead author of the study, published in the American Journal of Political Science.

The author is intrigued, she says, in “the effect of biology on political attitudes, preferences and behavior.” Her research team included experts from both Harvard and Penn State Universities.

“Who, other than these esteemed scholars, would have thought we find the body odor of people with our same political ideology more alluring? But that’s why it’s interesting, and, according to these researchers, this could be one of the multitude of factors that subconsciously nudge us toward a mate with our same political ideology,” declares Gregg Murray, an associate professor of political Science at Texas Tech University.



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