I’m a sucker for scientific studies. Who doesn’t enjoy a good p-value and confidence interval? (Ha ha, pee-value.) But I often wonder if the money used to fund certain projects would be better spent elsewhere. And by certain I mean ridiculous.
Case in point: Did you know that during a GOP presidential debate, Rick Santorum blinked more than twice the average rate of the other competitors? Those Republican eyelashes netted an impressive 61 bats per minute. That’s more times a minute than Donald Trump annoys me.
More recently, another study snagged my senses. And with a subject matter of old-person smell, how could it not?
In this essential study, 41 lucky volunteers sniffed jars containing underarm pads “steeped” in five days’ worth of other volunteers’ body odor, the idea being to determine if the inhalers could identify the scents of 20- to 30-year olds, 45- to 55-year olds, and 75- to 95-year olds. You know, to see if old people really do stink more than the rest of us.
Not to be deterred by their foul assignment, the olfactory-blessed volunteers shined in their duty, sniffing out age groups “better than would be predicted by chance.” There’s that pee-value again (te hee, te hee).
And guess what? Old folks’ odors rated the “highest for pleasantness and lowest for intensity.” Ha! Take that, you young whippersnappers.
Why does an octogenarian smell sweeter? According to the study, perhaps because of reproduction. You see, we determine how closely related we are to someone with scent. This, in turn, results in reproductive success. Kind of like survival of the fittest fragrance.
Make sense? Don’t feel bad. It doesn’t to me either. But I’m sure glad someone invested time and money to tell me Grandma smells better than Timmy, which, for anyone who’s suffered the scent of a little boy after he’s played outside, is common knowledge already.
So for those of you older than 75, celebrate. Your underarm odors put the rest of us stink balls to shame.
Any studies you think are stupid? Have you ever been in a study? Did you sniff armpit pads? Does Donald Trump annoy you? Would you sniff Donald Trump’s armpit?
Images from Microsoft Clip Art
- Scientists Confirm Existence of ‘Old Person Smell’ (news.health.com)
- Humans Can Sniff Out Old Age in Others, Study Shows (nlm.nih.gov)
- Smells Like Old Spirit (news.sciencemag.org)