Easily disgusted by the smell of body odor? You’re more likely to be a Trump supporter, according to a recent study from Stockholm University, which examine the connection between sensitivity to different body odors and political attitudes.
According to Science Daily, disgust is an essential survival tool, protecting a person from danger, infection and things to be avoided. The researchers at Stockholm University theorized that there could be a connection between preferring a rigidly organized society (where different groups are kept apart) and disgust. In the end, their results proved conclusive.
“There was a solid connection between how strongly someone was disgusted by smells and their desire to have a dictator-like leader who can suppress radical protest movements and ensure that different groups ‘stay in their places,’” says Jonas Olofsson, a researcher of scent and psychology at Stockholm University, who is one of the study’s authors.
“That type of society reduces contact among different groups and, at least in theory, decreases the chance of becoming ill,” he adds.
In the study, researchers devised a scale for participants to rate how much they were disgusted by both their own body odors and the body odors of others. Participants from different countries filled out the scale online, along with responses to questions about their political beliefs.
For United States participants, questions about the 2016 presidential election were included, asking who they were planning on voting for.
“It showed that people who were more disgusted by smells were also more likely to vote for Donald Trump than those who were less sensitive. We thought that was interesting because Donald Trump talks frequently about how different people disgust him,” Olofsson says. “He thinks that women are disgusting and that immigrants spread disease and it comes up often in his rhetoric. It fits with our hypothesis that his supporters would be more easily disgusted themselves.”
You can read more about the study here.