Your Sensitivity to Smells, and the Size of Your Social Circle

The chant “Correlation Does Not Imply Causation” may come to mind when you read this report:

What does the nose know? Olfactory function predicts social network size in human,” Lai-quan Zou, Zhuo-ya Yang, Yi Wang, Simon SY Lui, An-tao Chen, Eric FC Cheung, and Raymond CK Chan, Scientific Reports, vol. 6, 2016. The authors explain:

“it is not known whether olfactory function is associated with social network size. This study aimed to explore the underlying neural mechanism between olfactory function and social network. Thirty-one healthy individuals participated in this study. Social network size was estimated using the Social Network Index. Olfactory function was assessed with the Sniffin’ Stick Test. The results showed that there is a significant positive correlation between the size of an individual’s social network and their olfactory sensitivity”