Beauty Is Mostly in the Eye of the Beholder: Olfactory Versus Visual Cues of Attractiveness

  title={Beauty Is Mostly in the Eye of the Beholder: Olfactory Versus Visual Cues of Attractiveness},
  author={Joshua D. Foster},
  journal={The Journal of Social Psychology},
  pages={765 - 774}
  • J. Foster
  • Published 1 December 2008
  • Psychology
  • The Journal of Social Psychology
Olfaction is an important determinant of attractiveness, possibly even more so than vision when judgments are made by women. However, research that directly compares these cues using actual stimuli (e.g., t-shirt odors) is lacking. In this study, 44 women rated the attractiveness of t-shirt odors and facial photographs of 21 men either independently (i.e., first rated t-shirts, then rated photographs) or together (i.e., made overall ratings on the basis of t-shirts and photographs presented… 

The scent of attraction and the smell of success: crossmodal influences on person perception

  • C. Spence
  • Psychology
    Cognitive research: principles and implications
  • 2021
Several potential cognitive mechanisms have been put forward to try and explain such crossmodal/multisensory influences, and some of the neural substrates underpinning these effects have now been characterized.

Olfaction in the Multisensory Processing of Faces: A Narrative Review of the Influence of Human Body Odors

It is suggested that the weight of olfaction might be especially strong in infancy, shaping social perception, especially in slow-maturing senses such as vision, and that this early tutoring function of Olfaction spans all developmental stages to disambiguate a complex social environment by conveying key information for social interactions until adulthood.

GRANT journal (05/01)

Commonly spread opinion that the attractiveness of the face is the „mater of the taste“, or that the “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” has been disrupted by the findings, that the consensus

The Importance of Intact Senses in Mating and Social Assessments Made by Deaf Individuals

The results suggested that deaf people rely less on visual and olfactory cues in mating and social assessments, highlighting a possible role of sign language in shaping interpersonal tactile experience in non-romantic relationships.

What's in a Kiss? The Effect of Romantic Kissing on Mate Desirability

It was found that the presence of a picture alongside a descriptive vignette negated the effect of kissing-related information only when rating potential partners on attractiveness or desirability for further courtship, though not when evaluating partners for casual sex or long-term relationship scenarios.

Do Single Men Smell and Look Different to Partnered Men?

To determine if single males’ BO smells stronger than partnered men’s BO, eighty-two heterosexual women aged 18-35 years rated the BO and faces of six different males also aged 18–35 years as well as the possible advantages of females being able to identify single males.

Smell and sight on the attraction felt by homosexual men

Previous works about the role of the senses in mating choices made by men and women have confirmed the existence of neurophysiologic processes which influence our decisions about whom we’d like to



Human body odour, symmetry and attractiveness

A significant positive correlation between facial attractiveness and sexiness of body odour for female subjects and negative relations between smell and body asymmetry for males only if female odour raters were in the most fertile phase of their menstrual cycle are found.

Differential use of sensory information in sexual behavior as a function of gender

The present results support recent findings in mice and humans concerning the relation of female preferences in body odor and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) compatibility and can be explained by an evolutionary analysis of sex differences in reproductive strategies.

The self-reported importance of olfaction during human mate choice

This study evaluated sex differences in the relative importance placed on olfactory cues during mate choice. To evaluate this, 151 men and 289 women completed an on-line version of the Romantic

Judging Physical Attractiveness

The present study attempted to determine what body parts and functions young adults use in judging physical attractiveness and how these body items are related to different dimensions of body esteem.

Body odour preferences in men and women: do they aim for specific MHC combinations or simply heterozygosity?

  • C. WedekindS. Füri
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1997
No significant effect was found when tests were tested for an influence of the MHC on odour preferences after the degree of similarity between T–shirt–wearer and smeller was statistically controlled for, which suggests that in study populations the M HC influences body Odour preferences mainly, if not exclusively, by thedegree of similarity or dissimilarity.

Gender differences in beliefs about the causes of male and female sexual desire

Little is known about the beliefs men and women have about the causes of sexual desire, despite the interpersonal and individual significance of those beliefs. Participants in this study received a

Received December

  • Received December
  • 2006

Gender differences in beliefs about the causes of male and female desire

  • Personal Relationships
  • 1995