Perfume is supposed to make you smell nice. That is sort of what it says on the tin. But newly published research indicates that it also makes you look better too. The scientists showed photos of women’s faces to a panel. The panel was mixed, but with more women than men. They were then asked to assess the attractiveness of the faces. While they were doing this they were exposed to either cooked fish oil or a delicate rose odour created by the top fragrance house Givaudan.
The results were intriguing. When exposed to the rose odour the faces were rated as being more attractive. This might simply be another example of the halo effect. There is a tendency to think that things we like are good in general. But there may be more to this particular story. Although the faces were rated as more attractive they weren’t rated as appearing any younger. So it looks like there is some specific effect a nice fragrance has directly on the brain and how it perceives things.
I think this is an interesting result in both a scientific way and in a practical way. The fact that something like attractiveness is much more than a simple visual signal tells us something about who we are and the way we see the world. We aren’t simply wet computers taking in information and analysing it. Our thought processes are a lot more subtle than that. And it is also a valuable tip that can be used to your advantage. If you want to impress someone with your attractiveness, don’t go easy on the cologne.