Study claims that the presence of bad smells make people more opposed to gay marriage

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The results of a new study have claimed that the presence of disgusting smells cause people to hold more conservative views, including being more likely to oppose same-sex marriage.

The Arkansas study makes the claim that smells such as vomit cause people to hold stronger views, specifically against homosexuality.

Titled ‘Disgust and the Politics of Sex’, the study was published in PLOS One.

It asked two groups of randomly selected participants to fill out questionnaires around a range of political issues, ranging their options from “not at all disgusting” to “extremely disgusting”.

One of the rooms contained butyric acid, a main component of severe body odour and vomit, and the other room had no smell.

Researchers on the study referred to the smell as “induced disgust”.

The people in the room with the acid expressed stronger views against same-sex marriage, researchers claimed, stating that 25.9% of respondents said they were strongly against same-sex marriage.

70% of respondents in the room without the smell said they supported the right of gay couples to get married.

There was a link between the smells and opinions on other issues such as abortion, premarital sex and pornography.

The study asked people to respond to the statement: “If a close friend of family member were gay, I would support their right to having a same-sex marriage.”

Below is a chart of the results.


The report read: “Disgust has an important, causal relationship with political attitudes concerning sexual conduct. In an experiment manipulating odor-based disgust, participants exposed to the smell of butyric acid reported increased subjective disgust and more politically conservative attitudes concerning gay marriage, premarital sex, pornography, and Biblical truth. Rejection of gay marriage was a particularly strong response to the disgust-inducing odor, perhaps because of the connection between homosexuality and perceptions of sexual impurity.”