Fishy smell shown to boost critical thinking in humans
No one likes a fishy smell, but it may actually have a positive impact on people's brains.
A recent study has found that it can improve critical thinking by arousing suspicion.
To test the odor's effect on cognitive abilities, researchers lightly sprayed an enclosed area with fish oil then asked the participants questions including, "How many animals of each kind did Moses take on the Ark?"
This is a classic psychological trick called the Moses Illusion where people immediately think the answer is two because they're familiar with the story but don't tend to catch that it was Noah who shepherded the Ark, not Moses.
Of the test group, 42 percent reported an inconsistency with that question compared to only 17 percent of the control group which experienced no fish smell.
Distrust of the odor has long been a way for humans to avoid eating things that might lead to illness, and the questions asked along the way likely helped with survival as well.
Over time, 20 languages around the world, including English, have developed ways to express that a suspicious situation seems "fishy."