A person’s social network is made up of all the people he has regular contact with. In the new study, scientists figured out how broad people’s social networks were by using a questionnaire that asked how many friends, colleagues, family members, and so on their 31 participants saw or spoke with every two weeks. The researchers also measured olfaction in three different ways: how sensitive people were to subtle aromas, how good they were at discriminating between different smells, and how well they were able to identify what they were sniffing from a list of four possibilities.
The more sensitive a person’s schnoz, the bigger her social network was likely to be. There was no connection, however, between social network size and a person’s ability to identify or discriminate odors.