Hand-Sniffing After Handshakes

Research by biologists Noam Sobel and Idan Frumin reveals that after a handshake people frequently lift their hand to their nose and sniff it. The researchers hypothesize that this is to smell the body odor of the other person.

As described by Sarah Everts in her recent book The Joy of Sweat:

Sobel also conducted a fascinating experiment with his graduate student Idan Frumin to see what people did with their hands after a handshake. Their team secretly videotaped people after they shook the hand of someone new, someone they had just met for the first time. Here's their delicious discovery: A few seconds after the handshake, the experimental subjects would inevitably sniff their own hands, to gain some odorous information about the new person.

"When we showed them the videos, many of the subjects were completely shocked and disbelieving," Frumin told me. "Some thought we had doctored the videos - not that we had the computing power or the expertise to do so."

. . . When Frumin now goes to conferences, he sometimes stands back and watches people unconsciously sniffing. "Sometimes I catch myself doing it too. People tell me I've ruined handshakes for them, that they've become very self-conscious about shaking hands, especially with me."

The Weizmann Institute has more info. Sobel and Frumin's article about their research is in the journal eLife Sciences.
     Posted By: Alex - Wed Dec 08, 2021
     Category: Science | Experiments | Smells and Odors

That'll practically guarantee you get whatever virus is going around.
Posted by Virtual in Carnate on 12/08/21 at 09:55 AM
Somebody had garlic in their lunch and they wanted to smell it.
Posted by KEVIN D POTTORFF on 12/08/21 at 01:14 PM
This is kind of like the video of the chimp that scratches his butt them smells it and falls backwards out of the tree.
Posted by F.U.D in Stockholm on 12/08/21 at 01:49 PM
"No matter how good the soap smells, you shouldn't walk out of a restroom sniffing your fingers."
Posted by Phideaux on 12/08/21 at 04:36 PM
This has IgNobel Prize written all over it. On the sight of it, pathetically stupid; but what's really behind it?
Posted by Richard Bos on 12/11/21 at 02:54 PM
So we aren't that far from sniffing each other's butt like dogs, are we?
Posted by Yudith on 12/12/21 at 03:40 PM
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