81 research outputs found

    Towards a Neuroscience of Love: Olfaction, Attention and a Model of Neurohypophysial Hormone Action

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    odor recognition of partners. There was also no similar correlation between their passionate love score and identifi cation of female friends, indicating a sex-specifi c effect. Lundström and Jones-Gotman argue that this specifi c reduction in recognition of opposite-sex friends supports the defl ection theory for the psychological mechanism of romantic love. The defl ection theory proposes that love is accompanied by a decrease in attention toward opposite-sex individuals, in contrast with an alternative idea which postulates intensifi ed attention toward the romantic partner (although, a

    Methods of human body odor sampling: the effect of freezing.

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    Abstract Body odor sampling is an essential tool in human chemical ecology research. However, methodologies of individual studies vary widely in terms of sampling material, length of sampling, and sample processing. Although these differences might have a critical impact on results obtained, almost no studies test validity of current methods. Here, we focused on the effect of freezing samples between collection and use in experiments involving body odor perception. In 2 experiments, we tested whether axillary odors were perceived differently by raters when presented fresh or having been frozen and whether several freeze-thaw cycles affected sample quality. In the first experiment, samples were frozen for 2 weeks, 1 month, or 4 months. We found no differences in ratings of pleasantness, attractiveness, or masculinity between fresh and frozen samples. Similarly, almost no differences between repeatedly thawed and fresh samples were found. We found some variations in intensity; however, this was unrelated to length of storage. The second experiment tested differences between fresh samples and those frozen for 6 months. Again no differences in subjective ratings were observed. These results suggest that freezing has no significant effect on perceived odor hedonicity and that samples can be reliably used after storage for relatively long periods

    Human mating strategies: from past causes to present consequences

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    In both humans and nonhuman animals, mating strategies represent a set of evolutionary adaptations aimed at promoting individual fitness by means of reproduction with the best possible partners. Given this critical role, mating strategies influence numerous aspects of human life. In particular, between-sex divergence in the intensity of intrasexual competition could account for robust cross-cultural sex differences in psychology and behavior (e.g., personality, psychiatric disorders, social behavior, violence). Several other factors (including individual differences, relationship type and environment) affect—in an evolutionarily consistent manner—variation in mating strategy that individuals pursue (as one example, awareness of one's own attractiveness impinges on mating standards). Here we provide an overview of relevant theoretical frameworks and empirical evidence on variation in mating strategies. Given its multifaceted nature and intense research interest over several decades, this is a challenging task, and we highlight areas where further investigation is warranted in order to achieve a clearer picture and resolve apparent inconsistencies. However, we suggest that addressing outstanding questions using a variety of different methodological approaches, a deeper understanding of the cognitive representations involved in mating strategies is within reach

    Effect of fragrance use on discrimination of individual body odor

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    Previous research suggests that artificial fragrances may be chosen to complement or enhance an individual's body odor, rather than simply masking it, and that this may create an odor blend with an emergent quality that is perceptually distinguishable from body odor or fragrance alone. From this, it can be predicted that a new emergent odor might be more easily identified than an individual's body odor in isolation. We used a triangle test paradigm to assess whether fragrance affects people's ability to distinguish between individual odors. Six male and six female donors provided axillary odor samples in three conditions (without fragrance, wearing their own fragrance, and wearing an assigned fragrance). In total, 296 female and 131 male participants selected the odd one from three odor samples (two from one donor, one from another; both of the same sex). We found that participants could discriminate between the odors at above chance levels in all three odor conditions. Olfactory identification ability (measured using Sniffin' Sticks) positively predicted discrimination performance, and sex differences in performance were also observed, with female raters being correct more often than men. Success rates were also higher for odors of male donors. Additionally, while performance was above chance in all conditions, individual odor discrimination varied across the three conditions. Discrimination rate was significantly higher in the "no fragrance" condition than either of the fragranced conditions. Importantly, however, discrimination rate was also significantly higher in the "own fragrance" condition than the "assigned fragrance" condition, suggesting that naturally occurring variance in body odor is more preserved when blended with fragrances that people choose for themselves, compared with other fragrances. Our data are consistent with the idea that fragrance choices are influenced by fragrance interactions with an individual's own body odor

    Major histocompatibility complex-associated odour preferences and human mate choice: near and far horizons

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    The major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is a core part of the adaptive immune system. As in other vertebrate taxa, it may also affect human chemical communication via odour-based mate preferences, with greater attraction towards MHC-dissimilar partners. However, despite some well-known findings, the available evidence is equivocal and made complicated by varied approaches to quantifying human mate choice. To address this, we here conduct comprehensive meta-analyses focusing on studies assessing i] genomic mate selection, ii] relationship satisfaction and iii] odour preference. Analysis of genomic studies reveals no association between MHC-dissimilarity and mate choice in actual couples; however, MHC effects appear to be independent of genomic background. The effect of MHC-dissimilarity on relationship satisfaction was not significant and we found evidence for publication bias in studies on this area. There was also no significant association between MHC-dissimilarity and odour preferences. Finally, combining effect sizes from all genomic, relationship satisfaction, odour preference and previous mate choice studies into an overall estimate showed no overall significant effect of MHC similarity on human mate selection. Based on these findings, we make a set of recommendations for future studies, focusing both on aspects that should be implemented immediately and those that lurk on the far horizon. We need larger samples with greater geographical and cultural diversity, that control for genome-wide similarity. We also need more focus on mechanisms of MHC-associated odour preferences and on MHC-associated pregnancy loss

    Consumption of garlic affects hedonic perception of axillary body odour

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    Beneficial health properties of garlic, as well as its most common adverse effect – distinctive breath odour – are well-known. In contrast, analogous research on the effect of garlic on axillary odour is currently missing. Here, in three studies varying in the amount and nature of garlic provided (raw garlic in study 1 and 2, garlic capsules in study 3), we tested the effect of garlic consumption on the quality of axillary odour. A balanced within-subject experimental design was used. In total, 42 male odour donors were allocated to either a “garlic” or “non-garlic” condition, after which they wore axillary pads for 12h to collect body odour. One week later, the conditions were reversed. Odour samples were then judged for their pleasantness, attractiveness, masculinity and intensity by 82 women. We foundnosignificant differences in ratings of any characteristics in study 1. However, the odour of donors after an increased garlic dosage was assessed as significantly more pleasant, attractive and less intense (study 2), and more attractive and less intense in study 3. Our results indicate that garlic consumption may have positive effects on perceived body odour hedonicity, perhaps due to its health effects (e.g.,antioxidantproperties,antimicrobialactivity)

    Distinguishing Between Perceiver and Wearer Effects in Clothing Color-Associated Attributions

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    Recent studies have noted positive effects of red clothing on success in competitive sports, perhaps arising from an evolutionary predisposition to associate the color red with dominance status. Red may also enhance judgments of women's attractiveness by men, perhaps through a similar association with fertility. Here we extend these studies by investigating attractiveness judgments of both sexes and by contrasting attributions based on six different colors. Furthermore, by photographing targets repeatedly in different colors, we could investigate whether color effects are due to influences on raters or clothing wearers, by either withholding from raters information about clothing color or holding it constant via digital manipulation, while retaining color-associated variation in wearer's expression and posture. When color cues were available, we found color-attractiveness associations when males were judged by either sex, or when males judged females, but not when females judged female images. Both red and black were associated with higher attractiveness judgments and had approximately equivalent effects. Importantly, we also detected significant clothing color-attractiveness associations even when clothing color was obscured from raters and when color was held constant by digital manipulation. These results suggest that clothing color has a psychological influence on wearers at least as much as on raters, and that this ultimately influences attractiveness judgments by others. Our results lend support for the idea that evolutionarily-derived color associations can bias interpersonal judgments, although these are limited neither to effects on raters nor to the color red

    Olfactory processing and odor specificity: a meta-analysis of menstrual cycle variation in olfactory sensitivity

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    Cycle-correlated variation in olfactory threshold, with women becoming more sensitive to odors mid-cycle, is somewhat supported by the literature but the evidence is not entirely consistent, with several studies finding no, or mixed, effects. It has been argued that cyclic shifts in olfactory threshold might be limited to odors relevant to the mating context. We aimed to test whether the evidence currently available points in the direction of odor-specific or, rather, general changes in olfactory sensitivity and, if the former is the case, to what group of odorants in particular. We carried out a meta-analysis of relevant studies which together used a variety of different odorants, including some found in food, body odor, and some that occur in neither of these. First we tested whether there appears to be an overall effect when all studies are included. Next, we hypothesised that if cyclic changes in olfactory processing are odor-specific and tuned to biologically relevant odors, we should find changes in detection thresholds only for odorants found in body odor, or for those that are perceptually similar to it. In contrast, if threshold patterns are linked to more general fluctuations in odor processing across the cycle, we would not expect changes in relation to any particular odorant group. The results support the view that there is significant cycle-correlated variation. Thresholds were in general significantly lower in the fertile than the non-fertile phases, with effect sizes consistently in this direction. This same conclusion applied to both ‘food’ and ‘musky’ odorants, despite their different evolutionary significance, and to the androgen steroids (androstadienone, androstenone, and androsterone), but could not be applied to phenyl-ethyl alcohol. The results indicate that olfactory sensitivity may be a non-adaptive by-product of the general physiological fluctuations or differences in neural processing experienced across the cycle to a broad spectrum of odorants, rather than being specifically selected for mate choice-related odors

    Effect of biological relatedness on perfume selection for others: Preliminary evidence

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    People tend to choose perfumes to complement their body odour. As kin share some body odour qualities, their ability to select complementary perfumes for relatives might be higher compared to selection for non-relatives. We tested this in two studies, comparing selection of a perfume for a target man by himself and by either a familiar but unrelated individual (girlfriend; Study 1) or a relative (sister; Study 2). Target men applied the two perfumes (own/other’s choice) to their axillae and then wore cotton pads for 12h. Collected perfume-body odour blends and perfumes alone were assessed by rater panels. In Study 1, the blends were rated as nominally more pleasant when body odours were mixed with the perfumes selected by girlfriends compared to those selected by target men themselves. In Study 2, body odours mixed with perfumes selected by sisters were rated significantly more attractive than those mixed with perfumes selected by target men. No significant differences were found for attractiveness and pleasantness ratings when perfumes were rated alone, suggesting that it was the resulting blends that were uniquely different. Our results indicate that sisters might be particularly tuned to select suitable perfumes for their siblings

    Hormonal contraception use during relationship formation and sexual desire during pregnancy

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    Women who are regularly cycling exhibit different partner preferences than those who use hormonal contraception. Preliminary evidence appears to suggest that during pregnancy women’s partner preferences also diverge from those prevalent while regularly cycling. This is consistent with the general assertion that women’s mate preferences are impacted by hormonal variation. During pregnancy, women’s preferences are thought to closely resemble those displayed by women who are using hormonal contraception. Here, based on this literature, we compared levels of sexual desire among pregnant women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception and pregnant women who met their partner while regularly cycling. We predicted that women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception would experience higher levels of in-pair sexual desire during pregnancy since these women will have partner preferences that more closely match those prevalent at the time of their partner choice. Our results provided support for the idea that previous contraceptive use/non-use may impact subsequent sexual desire for the partner during pregnancy. Pregnant women who met their partner while using hormonal contraception (N=37) were shown to have higher levels of in-pair sexual desire than those who met while regularly cycling (N=47). In contrast, levels of extra-pair desire were not related to previous use/non-use of hormonal contraception. These findings were robust when controlling for a number of relevant individual difference variables known to impact sexual desire. Our results contribute to our understanding of factors affecting relationship functioning during pregnancy
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