Umberto Brivitello, Rosa Angela Fabio, Sebastiano Nucera, Alessio Plebe

The sweet smell of altruism. Correlations between smells and prosocial behaviour. A short review

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Prosocial Behavior; Smells; Altruism; Olfactory Ecologies; Sociology of the Senses.

Sociology and social psychology constitute an analytical framework for establishing how the sense of smell can influence human behaviour in different contexts. Results from the studies of Simmel had shown that the olfactory experience can be studied at the level of analysis of social and behavioral interaction. Although long considered a silent or «mute sense» (Ackerman, 1990), smell influences unexpected and surprising modes of human action. While, on the one hand, it has now been shown that unconscious processes can modulate our behaviour, on the other hand, a particular olfactory perception can determine choices, forms of behaviour, opinions and quality of social relations (in an automatic and unaware way). The purpose of this work is to provide a partial structuring of literature that has analyzed the role that smells (or chemosignals) play in determining or counteracting pro-social behaviour.

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