Friends smell like one another


Well-Known Member
May 24, 2021
An article in the economist states:

Inbal Ravreby, Kobi Snitz and Noam Sobel of the Weizmann Institute of Science, in Israel, have ... shown ... that friends actually smell alike. They have also shown that this is probably the case from the get-go, with people picking friends at least partly on the basis of body odour, rather than the body odours of people who become friends subsequently converging.

As they report in Science Advances, Dr Ravreby, Dr Snitz and Dr Sobel started their research by testing the odours of 20 pairs of established, non-romantic, same-sex friends. They did this using an electronic nose (e-nose) and also two groups of specially recruited human “smellers”.

The e-nose employed a set of metal-oxide gas sensors to assess t-shirts worn by participants. One group of human smellers were given pairs of these shirts and asked to rate how similar they smelt. Those in the other group were asked to rate the odours of individual t-shirts on five subjective dimensions: pleasantness, intensity, sexual attractiveness, competence and warmth. The e-nose results and the opinions of the second group of smellers were then subjected to a bit of multidimensional mathematical jiggery-pokery (think plotting the results on a graph, except that the graph paper has five dimensions), and they, too, emerged as simple, comparable numbers.

All three approaches yielded the same result. The t-shirts of friends smelt more similar to each other than the t-shirts of strangers. Friends, in other words, do indeed smell alike. But why?
"I'm sorry we can't be friends anymore."

"But why?? Is it my addiction to Nachos?"


"The westerns I watch all the time at full volume? My cosplay choices? My neo-nazi frat buddies?"


"What then??"

"My cold is gone."
And I thought it was a coincidence that all my friends like garlic as much as I do!