The idea of death is ingrained in human nature, and the way we imagine it corresponds to the image of a dead person, animal, bird, or insect. So what ties all of them together that we hadn’t before considered? the odor.
The human nose can detect a vast variety of odours, according to recent research, and can still respond to them even though it cannot categorize them. such example the aroma produced by the chemical putrescine. It’s important to note that this chemical, which the body releases when something starts to decompose, is the result of the animal’s necrophobic behavior during the course of its evolution. Necrophobic responses are thought to have emerged at least 420 million years ago.
It is thought that animals respond to the scent of putrescine by sensing danger in one of two ways: either a predator is close or they are now in danger of their lives, in which case their instinct instructs them to flee.
To demonstrate that human reflexes and behavior are identical to those of animals, scientists have done four different experiments on humans using a solution of putrescine, water, and ammonia.
The first experiment involved exposing individuals to the smell of putrescine and testing their alertness while they were exposed to it. The results demonstrated that participants who were exposed to the putrescine aroma exhibited much higher levels of alertness than those who were exposed to the ammonia and water scents.
The second test that the researchers conducted involved testing an unwitting group of people who were given the task of rating a smell based on its strength, repulsiveness, and familiarity. The researchers were interested in how the group would respond to the odours and how quickly they would move away from an 80-meter distance. People who have smelled the putrescine have a tendency to leave the area far more quickly, demonstrating that the fragrance strongly motivates people to flee.
In a subsequent experiment, the participants were given a word stem-completion task right after being exposed to the putrescine smell.
The findings indicate that the putrescine odor caused the group to total the word stems, many of which were connected to escape and other connections with the word. The usage of thread words also made the scent worse.
Insecurity and antagonism
In the last trial, the subjects were exposed to a rather strong aroma that they were unable to smell. They were given a text to read in this experiment, and their task was to assess the author.
The participants were hostile and defensive toward the author since they had been unable to identify the putrescine’s mild odour. This demonstrated that the participants’ unintentional exposure to the smell caused them to act defensively.