The power of perfume
Can wearing certain fragrances make you appear more attractive? A new study says yes.
Researchers at Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia say that given the right scent of perfume, women faces are “rated more attractive in the presence of pleasant odors.”
Study leaders say people’s perceptions of each other can be directly affected by smells.
“Odor pleasantness and facial attractiveness integrate into one joint emotional evaluation,” said lead author Janina Seubert, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist, in a news release. “This may indicate a common site of neural processing in the brain.”
The Monell study finds that odors can not only affect a person’s overall appearance but even influence how their facial features look to others. The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.
For the study, around 20 young adults, mostly women, were challenged to score levels of attractiveness and the ages of 8 female faces in photographs.
While viewing the pictures, one of five odors was emitted within the range of study participants. The smells ranged from unpleasant to pleasant using substances like fish oil and rose oil. The study subjects were then asked to rate how attractive they perceived the faces in connection with the smells.
“Across the range of odors, odor pleasantness directly influenced ratings of facial attractiveness. This suggests that olfactory and visual cues independently influence judgments of facial attractiveness,” the report said.
The less-than-pleasant odors had a “mixed effect,” on attractiveness, researchers said. Those smells had a greater influence on the perceived age of the women in the photos. Younger and older faces were seen as to be closer in age.
“These findings have fascinating implications in terms of how pleasant smells may help enhance natural appearance within social settings, said co-author, Jean-Marc Dessirier. “The next step will be to see if the findings extend to evaluation of male facial attractiveness.”
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