A Person's Sense of Smell Can Reveal a Weight Bias, Study Finds

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A new study discovered that visual cues associated with overweight or obese individuals can influence a person’s sense of smell.

According to a study published in the International Journal of Obesity, a team of researchers showed subjects one of two sets of images. The researchers found that when overweight or obese people were on the screen, participants gave lower ratings to scent samples, despite the fact that the samples were unscented. Images of average-sized or thin people tended to trigger higher ratings.

Additionally, the study found that person's body mass index (BMI) had an effect on his or her sense of smell. Participants with higher BMI tended to be more critical of heavier people, with higher-BMI participants giving scents a lower rating than lower BMI participants when scent samples were matched with an obese or overweight individual.

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