Scents are one of those things that seem like they are pretty particular to a person. Some people like a flowery scent, others like a vanilla scent, while others opt for a citrus scent. No matter which one you prefer, it turns out that there is probably a scientific reason for it.
Scientist have been trying to figure out that the most universally good smells actually are, and now they've decided that a robot can predict whether or not something smells good.
I know, it seems a little out there, but a bunch of neurobiologists created a device called an eNose that can accurately predict whether or not a smell will be rated as good or bad by humans.
Using this device, they have been able to determine which smells are universally loved and universally hated. They tested out a bunch of essential oils to see which were the winners, and the results are kind of surprising.
The top rated smell was lime, which while it smells nice and fresh there are lots of things I would rank over it personally.
Grapefruit was the runner up, which honestly continues to make me question this eNose device.
Bergamont came in third, which is a nice citrus scent so it's fair that it's in the running.
Orange was fourth and peppermint was fifth.
Personally, there is something about this that feels wrong. Sure, these scents are all fine, but they don't feel like it's something you want to smell always. I'm shocked that vanilla wasn't one of the highest ranking scents as that one seems to be the most universal of all.
The study claims that it's all in our biology, especially because the results were recreated in several locations. According to the researchers, "These findings suggest that unlike in vision and audition, in olfaction there is a systematic predictable link between stimulus structure and stimulus pleasantness."
However this is obviously just based on one study that was using essential oils and other chemicals to test out their accuracy. Another study, a slightly less official one, revealed people's actual favorite smells and it aligns much more closely to what I would have though would win.
- Freshly baked bread
- Freshly cut grass
- Cakes baking
- The seaside
- Freshly washed clothes
- Sunday Roast
- Fish and Chips
- Fresh Flowers
This study gave a much more open ended survey to find out people's favorite smells, and it turns out it's a lot of things that smells like home. Stuart Hobbs from a decorating brand in the UK ran the study and said, "So many of the top smells are associated with home which really confirms to us that home is where the heart is."
While this study was a little bit less official than the eNose study, I think we can all agree that they both give some good insights into what the human body enjoys smelling.
Personally, I think my favorite smell has to be a log fire (either in a campfire or fireplace). It just makes me feel all warm and cozy no matter what. What is your favorite scent?
It seems like scientists are always trying to prove some strange stuff. Whether its the best smells, the reasons why you and your best friends are so connected, and even why you are attracted to certain people, it seems like the crazy studies will never end!