Study Finds Smelly Environments Can Make People More Homophobic

A putrid odor has the ability to make a person scrunch of their face and say “Ew!” But can it turn them homophobic? A new study titled Disgust and the Politics of Sex says the answer is: Possibly.

Researchers at the University of Arkansas found that people are less likely to support same-sex marriage if they are in an odorous environment, The New Republic reports.

57 people participated in the study led by political science professor Patrick Stewart (not to be confused this guy) and his team of researchers. Participants were placed in one of two rooms. One of the rooms was just a regular old lab. The other was infused with butyric acid, which smells like human vomit. Participants were then given a questionnaire asking about their social and political views.

Those in the vomit-smelling room were far less tolerant of same-sex marriage and gay relationships. They also tended to have more conservative stances on issues like premarital sex, pornography, and abortion. Older participants were especially affected by the vomit smell.

“It is possible,” researchers hypothesize, “that exposure to a disgusting odorant caused increased feelings of disgust, which in turn activated the harm avoidance system and motivated a desire for purity.”

In other news: LGBT rights activists have begun perfuming polling booths across the country.

Check out this infographic from the study below.

Attitudes about the following statement: “If a close friend of family member were gay, I would support their right to having a same-sex marriage.”