It is often said that something suspicious smells fishy.

Now, scientists have shown that the smell of fish actually heightens our suspicions.

Men and women were more likely to spot a trick question when asked it in a booth scented with fish oil, a study found.

The researchers say we may have evolved to be alert to the dangers of eating rotting meat and fish – and so question things more when we come across the distinctive smell.

In the University of Michigan study, the volunteers in the fishy booth were more than twice as likely to spot the trick as the others.

In a second experiment, smelling the fish oil trebled the volunteers’ odds of correctly answering a puzzle which required them to realise that their hunch may not be right.

Researcher David Lee, of the University of Michigan, said that the smell of fish fuels suspicion, leading to people thinking past the obvious.

He added: ‘The smell of suspicion is the smell of decaying organic matter that may be used as food.’

Read the full article "We're right to be suspicious of fishy smells" at the Daily Mail.