Scents and Sensibility

The nose knows more than you think.

Imagine walking into a meeting room. You shake hands with colleagues, then everyone sits down. Within seconds they all start sniffing their palms, picking up clues about you from the chemical traces left over from the handshakes. Sniffing palms after a handshake, usually within 30 seconds of the interaction, would likely help people learn about someone’s health and genetic compatibility, according to a 2015 study by researchers in Israel. Sniffing can also offer information on people&rsqu…

The full text of this article is available to Discover Magazine subscribers only.

Subscribe and get 10 issues packed with:

  • The latest news, theories and developments in the world of science
  • Compelling stories and breakthroughs in health, medicine and the mind
  • Environmental issues and their relevance to daily life
  • Cutting-edge technology and its impact on our future
Already a subscriber? Register now!

Registration is FREE and takes only a few seconds to complete. If you are already registered on, please log in.