Natural body odor plays a more important role in human mate selection than we realize, and now a new study paves the way for manufactured love potion scents that can help singles improve their chances of finding ideal mates.
The study, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, found that people like their own body odor, and gravitate to perfumes that match and enhance that unique smell for themselves and possible mates. This odor is recognized subconsciously, so it's not necessarily the more pungent sweat smells that emerge every so often due to bacteria, consumption of certain foods, and other contributing factors.
When purchasing perfume, "you must be very selective to find a mixture that mimics your (scent) signal, which is determined by a few genes," lead author Manfred Milinski of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, told Discovery News. "People take a long time to find 'their perfume.'"
For the study, Milinski and his team created perfumes with synthetic molecules associated with female student volunteers. The volunteers were asked to shower using a provided soap, apply a different type of perfume to each of their armpits, and wear an untreated cotton T-shirt at night.