New research shows that people who have a strong aversion to body odors are more likely to be in favor of authoritarianism. The same study also found that those who have the same aversion to body odors also supported Donald Trump when he was on the campaign trail.
Hating body odor can shape politics apparently.
A team from the Stockholm University found that to a limited degree people's disgust towards body odor. The team started with the theory that feeling a specific type of disgust explains why people lean towards a right-wing way of thinking.
"We thought body odor disgust might be related to authoritarian ideological attitudes because inter-group contact and social change are minimized in authoritarian societies, which might make disgust-sensitive individuals feel that those societies are more 'safe' from contamination," Jonas Olofsson, lead author of the study told Gizmodo. "Across three studies, we found that body-odor disgust was indeed associated with the degree to which persons reported authoritarian attitudes."
Researchers on the study believe that people are adverse to smells because that's how they determine someone who may be carrying disease. Fearing body odor can explain why people are more likely to lean to the right.
People in the study were also disgusted by their own body odor.
The team conducted three surveys to gauge someone's tendency to lean towards authoritarianism after stating their disgust for body odor. In two of the surveys, researchers found that hating body odor accounted for 10 percent of people to prefer rigid social order, defined gender roles, designated roles for ethnic groups, and harsh punishment.
In the third survey, the researchers found a relationship between those who were likely to vote for Donald Trump and those that were disgusted by body odor. They surveyed 300 people in September 2016 before the presidential election. Those that preferred Trump and didn't care for body odor were only about 2 percent.
Conservatives Are More Easily Disgusted
While this study didn't exactly provide the outcome that conservatives are more disgusted than liberals. Another study showed that people that are more easily disgusted tended to be more conservative.
In the study, it was found that people who were more likely to be disgusted were also the same people who were opposed to gay marriage and abortion.
"People have pointed out for a long time that a lot of our moral values seem driven by emotion, and in particular, disgust appears to be one of those emotions that seem to be recruited for moral judgments," said David Pizarro one of the lead authors of the study.
Pizarro notes that human disgust was born out of avoiding diseases, not for judging a person's moral compass. He warned that even if disgust has evolved to mean something different that people should be wary of using it to determine its influence across the board.