Attraction plays a central role in communication. Researchers have gathered evidence of the role of physical attraction and its role in our daily life, but often ignore the significant contribution of non-visual forms.

Acoustic and olfactory stimuli can, individually or in combination, have a profound effect on a person’s attractiveness and therefore his/her attitude and actions towards him/her.

According to the analysis, a person becomes attractive not only by his/her appearance but also by his/her voice and the smell of his/her body. This meta-analysis was published in Frontiers in Psychology and was based on 73 previous studies of attractiveness between 1977 and 2017.

Researchers from the University of Wroclaw, Poland, have found that a human’s smell reveals many characteristics about him/her, including his/her body size and whether he/she is emotional. In addition, some scents are not only pleasant but can stimulate erotic interest, while others are repulsive and discourage relationship building.

On the other hand, a person’s voice can give information about their age, how dominant their personality is, whether they are cooperative, their physical strength and emotional state, and possibly their fertility.

Complicated and combinatorial

An important finding was that when vision, odor or sound were evaluated simultaneously, they provided more information than any single element. The combination of an attractive person, for example, with an attractive voice or smell, led to a higher overall judgment of attractiveness.

While the review came to some strong conclusions, it also portrayed the science of attraction as extremely complicated. Women show a preference for an immediate level of total masculinity, but they are flexible in how they manage it. They may accept a less masculine body for men who have masculine voices, for example.

In addition, both sexes find people with similar genotypes more attractive, but prefer the odors of people with disparate genotypes, which suggests that some level of genetic disparity is preferred.

But preferences, the authors point out, can change over time. The visual and phonetic characteristics of a partner tend to be more important for both sexes early in the relationship, while odor plays a more important role later when the partners are more intimate. Men attach greater value to women’s bodies and facial appearance in the short and long term, while such a difference is less apparent in women.


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