Snow White and the Smelly Dwarfs
Psychology often smells a little fishy to me:
LiveScience reported a new study published in the European Journal of Personality – a study of human personality scents. Yeah, scents, not sense.
The subjects wore plain white T-shirts for three nights, and were instructed to avoid fragrant products, smoking, drinking, and even smelly food. Then other participants smelled the shirts, and rated the wearer on various personality traits (neurotic, submissive, etc.). And guess what? The smellers identified personality traits as accurately as someone who watched videos of the subjects’ behaviors.
This study (at least the superficial amount I read of it on the internet) didn’t exactly explain what various personalities smell like. But I can make a pretty good guess.
Take, for example, these well-known personalities:
Yes, what personality traits could be more obvious than for those folks whose names actually tell you what they are? Of course, no one today goes around with a T-shirt that says “Obnoxious” – although that should be a requirement – especially in Texas, for example. But now that I know you can smell a personality, …well, it seems like a very handy skill.
So let’s use our seven dwarfs as a test. (BTW, did you know that ‘dwarves’ is incorrect? It’s ‘dwarfs’ even though that looks weird. So this post is educational in ways other than olfactory.)
Sleepy: I’m sure Sleepy smells like lavender and fresh sheets, and my big cat-hair-enhanced duvet.
Sneezy is easy. Smith Brothers cough drops.
Grumpy. I had a boss once who was very grumpy. I didn’t mind though. I liked it better than the previous boss who was your best friend one day and worst enemy the next. Bipolar people are impossible to work for. Grumpy people are at least consistent. This grouchy guy smelled of Marlboros and Chinese Food. And he couldn’t sneak up on you either.
Bashful is very tricky. It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly what Shy smells like. When I was afraid, I used to hide in the back of my Grandma’s closet. It was dusty, with a faint aromatic mix of fur coats and old shoes. Maybe Bashful smells like that.
Happy probably has an essence of dark chocolate.
Dopey. I know some dopey creatures. They belong to my brother-in-law. Dopey must certainly smell like wet golden retrievers.
And finally, there’s Doc. Why didn’t Doc get a name that denotes his personality type? My guess is because he named all the other guys. But Doc is logical and practical. He’s a genius. I’m a genius. And I smell like old lady perfume and freshly brewed coffee.
I’m interviewing right now for a job opening in my department. I am thinking I can save a lot of time by skipping the lengthy probing questions. I’ll just smell the applicants.