Want people to be nicer to you? STOP wearing deodorant

From the “how did this get funding ?” file.

Apparently if you want people to be nicer to you then all you need to stink like an unwashed hippy.

Sharing a desk or spending time with someone who smells is usually best avoided, yet it could make you more compassionate.

Research has found that bad body odour is commonly associated with vulnerability, which triggers feelings of concern in others.

This means people tend to increase their level of co-operation when dealing with someone who smells bad because they feel sorry for them.

Lead author Jeroen Camps and colleagues, from the university KU Leuven in Belgium, said: ‘Scents are omnipresent in our daily world and they are of great importance as represented by the use of perfumes or fragrances in the work environment.’ 

‘Even though it has been argued that bad scents invoke negative judgments, we argued and demonstrated that a bad body odour elicits feelings of pity in others and increases prosocial behaviour.’

This can include underarm sweat, smelly feet, bad breath or other foul-smelling odours.

The research, published online in the Journal of Applied Social Psychology, involved several experiments.

In the first experiment, 36 participants were randomly placed into two groups.

Half were asked to sniff a bad smelling T-shirt that had been dowsed in human sweat, beer and sprayed with foul smells. The other half smelt a more neutral-smelling T-shirt.

All the T-shirts were of the same shape and colour and all participants were told to imagine the item belonged to someone they worked with.

Researchers then measured how participants felt about the other person, using ratings from one – totally disagree, to five – totally agree.

Pity was measured through two statements: ‘I feel sorry for the other person’ and ‘I find the other pathetic’ and the participants in the odour condition felt significantly more pity than those in the neutral condition.

This study is rubbish. If I smell the stink of a smelly person I usually ask them if they’ve managed to find a shower recently. I certainly don’t feel any pity for the stinkies…loathing and disgust perhaps but not pity.

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.