Do masculine men smell better? An association between skin color masculinity and female preferences for body odor
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A recent study claimed face skin color as a sexually dimorphic variable that influences attractiveness preferences in mate choice. Thereby, skin color may assume the role of a mate quality signal influencing attractiveness preferences. As body odor is linked to attractiveness, this study aimed to explore whether the odors of men with more masculine facial skin color would be evaluated more positively than odors from less masculine men. Female raters were presented with body odors of 18 men and were asked to rate them in various characteristics. Multilevel modelling revealed that the odors of the donors with more masculine color were rated not only as more attractive, more pleasant, and sexier, but also healthier. This indicates that odor associated with men with more masculine skin color is attractive, just as other sexually dimorphic traits. Furthermore, we found a negative relation between skin color masculinity and perceived odor maleness. Regarding this last finding, a new discussion is introduced with respect to the influence of cognitive stereotypes in odor judgments. Altogether, the study supports the possibility that chemosensory signals may be communicating signs of mate quality associated with masculinity.
Carrito , M L , Santos , I M , Alho , L , Ferreira , J , Soares , S C , Bem-Haja , P , Silva , C F & Perrett , D I 2017 , ' Do masculine men smell better? An association between skin color masculinity and female preferences for body odor ' Chemical Senses , vol 42 , no. 3 , pp. 269-275 . DOI: 10.1093/chemse/bjx004
© The Authors 2017. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved. This work has been made available online in accordance with the publisher’s policies. This is the author created, accepted version manuscript following peer review and may differ slightly from the final published version. The final published version of this work is available at https://doi.org/10.1093/chemse/bjx004
This work was supported by Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia and Programa Operacional de Potencial Humano/Fundo Social Europeu (SFRH/BD/77592/2011 to M.L.C.).
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