Some science suggests that the smell of a person can influence your attraction to them, that we are biologically disposed to a certain type of person. It’s also believed that the more you experience something the more you grow to like it, so does that include smell?
The average human being is able to recognise approximately 10,000 different odours, even in the smallest amounts. Women of all ages are generally more accurate than men in identifying odours, although smoking can adversely affect that ability in both men and women.
A pheromone is a secreted or excreted chemical factor that triggers a social response in members of the same species. Whilst clearly active in animals, it’s still debated as to whether or not they operate and work within the human body.
Pheromones are produced by special bacteria on the surface of the skin. The bacteria process hormones found in sweat. Armpit and pubic hair may exist to provide these bacteria with more surface area to work on.
In two famous studies, women were shown to preferentially chose a chair in a waiting room that had been sprayed with a ‘male’ pheromone, while men avoided a similarly treated lavatory cubicle. Pheromones have been shown to increase a positive mood in females, a negative mood in males and sexual arousal in both sexes.
Pheromones can have effects on humans even if we cannot consciously smell them. This is no bad thing as many people report finding the odour of pheromones repulsive.
Smell cells (along with taste cells) are the only sensory cells that are regularly replaced throughout a person's life span.
Humans are the smelliest of the apes. We have more and larger scent producing glands than any other species.
Men have been shown to prefer the scent of ovulating women, while women have a tendency to prefer the scent of men with symmetrical faces.
National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders: Statistics on smell and taste.
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Discover: Do humans communicate via pheromones?The jury is still out.
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