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Perfume Boosts Facial Attractiveness

Update Date: May 29, 2014 09:00 PM EDT
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Need a date? Instead of buying that dress you've been eyeing the past two weeks, invest in a bottle of quality perfume.

A new study reveals that exposure to pleasant odors make women look more attractive, suggesting that odors may influence how people perceive one another.

"Odor pleasantness and facial attractiveness integrate into one joint emotional evaluation," lead author Janina Seubert, PhD, a cognitive neuroscientist who was a postdoctoral fellow at Monell Chemical Senses Center at the time the research was conducted, said in a news release. "This may indicate a common site of neural processing in the brain."

The latest study involved 18 young adults. Researchers said that two-thirds of the participants were female. Participants were asked to rate the attractiveness and age of eight female faces in photographs.

Researchers said that odors were released as participants evaluated the images. There were five odors that consisted of different levels of fish oil (unpleasant) and rose oil (pleasant).

For the study, participants were asked to guess the ages of the face in the photograph and rate the attractiveness of the face and the pleasantness of the odor.

The latest study reveals that odor pleasantness directly influenced ratings of facial attractiveness. Researchers said that findings suggest that olfactory cues can alter visual cues by influencing perception of facial attractiveness.

However, cougars should beware. Researchers found that pleasant odors made older faces look older and younger faces look younger. Researchers said this effect was weaker with exposure to unpleasant odors, which made younger and older faces look similar in age.

"These findings have fascinating implications in terms of how pleasant smells may help enhance natural appearance within social settings. The next step will be to see if the findings extend to evaluation of male facial attractiveness," researcher Jean-Marc Dessirier of Unilever, said in a news release.

The findings were published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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