A team led by Simone Schnall asked students walking outside on a college campus to answer questions about scenarios like this, rating them on a scale of 1 (extremely immoral) to 7 (perfectly okay). The catch was that they had rigged a trash can near the experimenters’ desk with fart spray. Some respondents read and rated the stories in the presence of a mild stink (four sprays of fart scent), some had a strong scent (eight sprays), and a lucky third group completed the experiment with no scent at all. Here are the results:
The point of the study is to show that our moral judgments change when we are more disgusted. What’s slightly surprising is that greater levels of disgust (more fart smell) didn’t change the judgments.