Every so often I come across a study which is for lack of better words bizarre. One such study was done in 1995, which to be fair is quite some time ago, but it’s findings are still fascinating and if nothing else make for great conversation.
The study has been called the sweaty T shirt study and after hearing about it, you might come up with a better name for it.
A group of scientists, perhaps having too much time on their hands, conducted a experiment in which women were asked to smell T shirts that men had slept in for two nights. The all female participants were then asked to rate these shirts according to “sexiness, pleasantness and intensity” (those last three are direct quotes from the study believe it or not).
The results were fascinating: What occurred is that the T shirts rated most highly by the women were those from men who had very different markers of immune systems from the women. More precisely, the major histocompatibility complexes or proteins used to tag invaders of the immune system for destructions were those that were different.
You could interpret the results as showing that women seek out partners with different immune systems so that offspring would inherit better immune systems and that of course this information was somehow contained and sensed from sweaty T shirts.
Or you could ask yourself how in God’s name did these researchers come up with the idea in the first place and which supervisors approved paying these researchers salaries.