Why do the farts of others smell worse?

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Offline thedoc

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Why do the farts of others smell worse?
« on: 15/04/2014 13:20:22 »
Peter Steadman asked the Naked Scientists:


When my home boy Baz and I are cruising for some honeys in his Halfords showroom on wheels in it, why is it dat when he farts, I feel like being sick and giving him a donkey-punch for the dis, yet when I fart (it's not like I adopt the brace position or nothing) it smells sweet like my Julie?

Sorry about the wording, it just seems like something a chav would say!!

I do find it odd though! If we are repulsed by some odor for survival reasons, i.e. smelly turds carry disease and parasites. Why is it we can tolerate or own created foul odors? Plus, one follow through question. If you were tricked some how by smelling some one else's 'air biscuit' thinking it was you who dealt it, would you 'enjoy' the smell?

Peter Steadman

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 15/04/2014 13:20:22 by _system »


Offline Peter Steadman

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Re: Why do the farts of others smell worse?
« Reply #1 on: 11/04/2014 20:18:36 »
I was looking back over my life, treating it like an ethnographic study. Then I remembered two smell related experiences from the same source, that maybe shared with other peoples experiences on the matter.

They where:
  I can remember smelling a eggy odour in class whilst at school (long, long time ago).
It was really strong and overwhelming, it made me feel 'sick'. I found it repulsive.

-I latter found out that it was a stink-bomb, and a friend let one off again. This time armed with the knowledge of its source. I found the smell did not effect me in the same way. I was laughing and not covering my air-ways feeling sick.

These two experiences, though personal, demonstrate to me that knowledge is important to how a person reacts to olfactory perception in this case, but, possibly any sense stimuli.

Has any one else shared this experience?

I'm guessing that it is probably due to not being able to catch nasties from your self. But, its odd we have developed multiple, polar like, reactions to a singular stimuli.

repulsion is in no doubt about survival, the things that repulse us are normally hazardous in a biological way. i.e they carry dangerous germs. So people with out this reaction would of died. Thus, the preset repulsion reaction made it through natural selection.

 Its amazing how powerful the influence is of our background knowledge on a emotional response to a perceived object.
fore example, Some ignorant kids are happy to eat worms in the garden. But, with a little bit of knowledge just the thought of eating worms would make some people feel nauseous. or,  that's my bodily waste, it's got my germs, therefore relatively safe to me so no need for repulsion.

I'm unsure how much of this would be naturalistic and how much is learned.

-At least this means that the trip to dump city to deposit a load does not end up being a traumatic, daily for some, repulsive experience.
« Last Edit: 14/04/2014 17:15:26 by Peter Steadman »