Tuesday, 06 Jan, 2009 Science

Being Deeply in Love Blocks Woman's Sense of Smell


A new study showed that women who are deeply in love are unable to distinguish the body odor of their boyfriends. It is known that body odors have a great influence in sexual attraction among humans.

Johan Lundstrom and Marilyn Jones-Gotman of McGill University in Montreal, Canada, attempted to discover how falling in love influences human sensitivity and processing of odors. Researchers interviewed 20 women who had male friends.

They asked the participants to complete a Passionate Lova Scale questionnaire in order to identify just how much they were in love. At the same time the boyfriends and female friends of the participants were asked to sleep in a cotton T-shirt for seven nights. They had pads sewn into the underarms of the T-shirts to absorb sweat.

Afterwards each of the 20 women was asked to pick among three T-shirts the one that belongs to her lover or friend. The results of the Passionate Love Scale survey showed that women made no difference to their ability to distinguish a shirt worn by a lover or garment worn by female friend. However, women who were deeply in love showed rather poor results at recognizing the smell of a boyfriend from the odors of unfamiliar people.

The current research backs a theory called "deflection," which states that being deeply in love with someone reduces the level of attention people give to other possible suitors. Currently Lundstrom, at the Philadelphia-based Monell Chemical Senses Center, looks forward to study the changes that occur in the brain of lovers when they perceive the smells of their partners, friends and unknown people, informs New Scientist.

"It's an interesting starting point for more work," said Claus Wedekind of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland, who, in 1995, was the lead scientist of a pioneering research of body odor and human attraction.

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