fart smell in the room makes us more judgmental

ok, this is an example of research that is somewhere in the tension of “they really tested that?” and “of course, we see this in youth ministry all the time!”

researchers gave college students a list of morality questions to respond to. the variable used to differentiate groups of respondents was a canister in the room that released differing amounts of fart smell. seriously. some got “no stink”, some got “mild stink”, and some were treated to “strong stink”. the research found that students were more judgmental when there was fart stink in the room.

The combined ratings were significantly lower — more immoral — when the survey was conducted in the presence of fart smell. Schnall’s team says that this demonstrates that our moral judgment is affected by disgust: we’re harsher in our moral judgments when we’re disgusted (a post-test confirmed that those who smelled the fart spray were significantly more disgusted than the others). Interestingly, the quantity of fart spray didn’t matter: despite the fact that everyone agreed that more fart spray smelled worse, the moral judgments weren’t different depending on how much spray was used.




yeah. there has to be some application for this in youth ministry, right? i mean, my middle school guys small group could have been the test case for this study (except, i don’t think i would want to expose them to the morality questions, some of which are pretty crude). still…

(ht to neatorama)

One thought on “fart smell in the room makes us more judgmental”

  1. Great stuff! Similarly, I once learned in a consumer behavior class that people are more likely to be agreeable when you give them something warm to hold. I guess that’s not the case if you give them something warm to smell!

Leave a Reply