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Mar 11, 2020

Topic - Autism and the sense of smell

We know that Autism Spectrum Disorder affects the way a person sees and hears, but now we know that it affects the way smell is interpreted.  Body odors are the most subtle way to communicate emotions. Happiness, aggression and fear produce their own emotional odors. We can “catch” someone else’s mood without even knowing it.  The ability to sense and interpret smells is very important for us, emotionally. While those with ASD detected other’s emotional scents, they responded to it in very different ways. Fearful body odors of people watching scary movies did not elicit a response, but when exposed to sweat from people who were exercising, those with ASD showed increased anxiety.  Basically, they misread body scents, missing an entire group of social cues which contributes to their emotional responses being “off target”.