Sniffing Out New Friends: Similarity in Body-Odor Predicts the Quality of Same-Sex None-Romantic Dyadic Interactions


Most are familiar with the notion of socially “clicking” with someone, namely sensing an immediate bond that can lead to strong and often long-lasting friendships. The mechanisms underlying such rapid bonding remain unclear. Given that body-odor similarity is a critical cue for social interaction in non-human mammals, we tested the hypothesis that body-odor similarly contributes to bonding in same-sex non-romantic human dyads. We observed that objective ratings obtained with an electronic nose, and subjective ratings obtained from human smellers, converged to suggest that click-friends smell more similar to each other than random dyads. Remarkably, we then found that we could use the electronic nose to predict which strangers would later form better dyadic interactions. Thus, humans may literally sniff-out new friends based on similarities in body-odor.

May I please sniff you? It’s for compatibility, I promise…

Performance pay and substance abuse

Using US panel data on young workers, we demonstrate that those who receive performance pay are more likely to consume alcohol and illicit drugs. Recognizing that this likely reflects worker sorting, we first control for risk, ability, and personality proxies. We further mitigate sorting concerns by introducing worker fixed effects, worker-employer match fixed effects, and worker-employer-occupation match fixed effects. Finally, we present fixed effect IV estimates. All of these estimates continue to indicate a greater likelihood of substance use when a worker receives performance pay. The results support conjectures that stress and effort increase with performance pay and that alcohol and drug use is a coping mechanism for workers.