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Author Topic: Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?  (Read 20253 times)

John Lowe

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John Lowe  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
Dear Naked Scientists

I absolutely love the show.  However, to bring the tone of the show down a few notches I have a rather coarse question for you to answer:

when an individual breaks wind why is the smell far more palatable to that individual than it is for all the other poor recipients who happen to be in the vicinity?

What a smelly question!

Kindest regards


John Lowe


from Wellington New Zealand



What do you think?
« Last Edit: 26/09/2011 12:30:03 by _system »

MikeS

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #1 on: 26/09/2011 14:10:40 »
Familiarly breeds contempt?

"failure to show appropriate respect for something that other people consider to be important"
http://www.macmillandictionary.com/dictionary/british/contempt
 :o)

ogahide

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #2 on: 26/09/2011 14:27:04 »
The difference may have a biochemical origin or a psychological one. A double blind study will be useful for distinguishing between them. If others' farts are proved to be "objectively" more torturous to you than your own, then a possible explanation would be:
Odorant molecules in the intestine travel to the nasal mucosa little by little through bloodflow (or maybe through air sometimes) and keep odorant receptors there desensitized. Each individual has different bacerial flora in the gut and therefore a different set of odorant substances. Since you are not desensitized to at least some of the odorant molecules in others' farts, they smell more awful to you.

chris

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #3 on: 26/09/2011 21:53:46 »
That's a very interesting suggestion, ogahide - never come across that before; is that just speculation, or are you aware of some published evidence to support it?

Chris

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #4 on: 27/09/2011 06:00:30 »
It's true for me anyway. I imagine it's purely psychological.

neilep

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #5 on: 27/09/2011 09:31:09 »
I luff the smell of my own farts !



It's lewd, it's rude, it's awfully crude
Especially fun when you're in the mood
Brings a laugh when you're in the nude
Flapajack flapajack spray spray spray
Soft or silent blasted any way
Fart, guff, windypop
Never to be done in a crowded shop !

Blow off, blow off, fart fart fart
Rubacheek, rubacheek it's an art art art
Underneath the bed sheets
Bubbles in the bath
Open up the window
Cuts oxygen by half

Rubbery cheeks and stained underwear
There's a fart around
Better beware !


lol...I wrote that 27 years ago !

ogahide

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #6 on: 27/09/2011 13:53:00 »
Chris,

It's just speculation. You didn't think that way? I simulated how you would explain!

chris

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #7 on: 27/09/2011 15:43:01 »
To be honest, I'd attributed it to psychological effects - you know you are about to make a smell, then you do make a smell and so it doesn't smell so bad because it wasn't a surprise. Plus, you know you made it, so you know you can control when you will do it again, so it doesn't seem so offensive.

However, the idea that the molecules might be moving parenterally or humorally to trigger accommodation within olfactory receptors is an interesting one. An alternative might be that other molecules, produced alongside the whiffy ones, so travel in this way and also have a modulating effect on the olfactory system, causing it to down-regulate its sensitivity to certain pongs.

CZARCAR

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #8 on: 27/09/2011 16:03:37 »
I light them, for fun & courtesy

Don_1

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #9 on: 04/10/2011 11:38:09 »
Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?


Speak for yourself!

rosy

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #10 on: 05/10/2011 13:38:27 »
Not all farts smell bad. Some do, some don't. Depends what you've been eating, and when, and probably on other things.

If you fart yourself you're (more or less always) aware of it, whether you create a bad smell or not. When someone else farts, unless it's really noisy, you only know about it if the smell is bad enough to notice.

Therefore people will tend to think that their own farts don't smell as bad (to them) because, of the farts they're aware of, more of other people's farts smell bad than their own. It may also be the case that there's a real effect whereby people genuinely find the smell of their own farts less unpleasant than do other people, but I've never been convinced that it's anything more than a form of sampling bias.

Don_1

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #11 on: 07/10/2011 10:09:18 »
.......... farts, unless it's really noisy, you only know about it if the smell is bad enough to notice.


Whoopeeeee! The q for a childish joke:

Q. Why do farts smell?
A. For the benefit of the deaf.

FuzzyUK

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #12 on: 08/10/2011 18:14:55 »
I hate it when people fart in front of me. I prefer it if they are behind me when they drop one.

jazzderry

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #13 on: 08/10/2011 18:30:12 »
this idea nust be where that saying came from-"and your sh1t don't stink" :o

chris

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #14 on: 08/10/2011 20:55:45 »
I hate it when people fart in front of me. I prefer it if they are behind me when they drop one.

Surely that depends upon which way the wind's coming from, so to speak...

Geezer

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #15 on: 08/10/2011 22:55:21 »
this idea nust be where that saying came from-"and your sh1t don't stink" :o

I think that about sums it up. Mine isn't in the least bit offensive. I don't know why Mrs G has to make such a fuss about it. It would be different if I'd dropped a stink bomb or something.

CZARCAR

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Why is the smell of your own farts more bearable?
« Reply #16 on: 09/10/2011 17:10:04 »
i have my head up my ass so much , i'm used to the smell. what about u?

 

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