A final note. In 2002, Wells and Hepper replicated their olfactory discrimination study with cat owners and published these findings in the journal Perception. Participants performed at chance levels, failing to identify their own cat’s odor from that of a stranger’s cat. The authors attribute this difference between the two species to cats’ better self-grooming habits.
In this new column presented by Scientific American Mind magazine, research psychologist Jesse Bering of Queen's University Belfast ponders some of the more obscure aspects of everyday human behavior. Ever wonder why yawning is contagious, why we point with our index fingers instead of our thumbs or whether being breastfed as an infant influences your sexual preferences as an adult? Get a closer look at the latest data as “Bering in Mind” tackles these and other quirky questions about human nature.