While chemistry is no doubt at play, the sensation of disgust is also highly dependent on emotional and social context, he adds. Cheese perfectly illustrates the complexity of this response. For instance, “If you mix butyric and isovaleric acids you can either get a very strong sensation of vomit, or of Parmesan cheese, and it's completely dependent on context whether that is disgusting or pleasant,” he says. “Similarly, the smell of fecal matter on a farm is less disgusting than the odor emanating from a porta potty at a music festival.”
— Read more at What Stinky Cheese Tells Us About the Science of Disgust at Smithsonian magazine.
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