Confirmed: Attractiveness not just about good looks. Voice, scent too tilt things
Your idea of attractiveness has been too shallow all these years. According to a new study, it’s not just about good looks. The right voice and scent are just as important as physical appearance, they say.sex and relationships Updated: May 22, 2017 12:10 IST
If you’ve been gushing over your girlfriend’s good looks, here’s something to puncture your thoughts: According to a team of scientists, attractiveness is not just a matter of good looks. Instead, they found that the right voice and scent are just as important as physical appearance.
Whether by an off-putting body odour or a grating voice, it is easy to understand how the nose and ears are as important as the eyes in noticing how attractive someone is. It is not particularly surprising that attractiveness spans more than just physical appearance, but most research has focused on looks, neglecting vocal and olfactory factors, researchers said.
They analysed over 30 years of research to provide a brief overview of the few studies that have looked into the role of voice and scent. “Recently, most reviews have focused on visual attractiveness - for example, face or body attractiveness,” said Agata Groyecka, from the University of Wroclaw in Poland. “However, literature about other senses and their role in social relations has grown rapidly and should not be neglected,” said Groyecka, lead author of the review published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. “Perceiving others through all three channels gives a more reliable and broader variety of information about them,” said Groyecka.
Some findings are relatively intuitive, such as people guessing gender and age based on voice alone. However, listeners have also proven to be skilled at detecting an unexpected range of characteristics from a voice, including the dominance, cooperativeness, emotional state, and even the body size of the speaker. Other studies have shown that people can correctly deduce very similar types of information based on scent alone. Recent brain imaging studies also suggest that combinations - sight and smell, for example - appear to be synergistic, producing even stronger reactions than would be expected from summing the individual responses.
Perceived attractiveness impacts day-to-day life in a variety of ways, influencing not only romantic relationships, but also friendships and professional interactions. Without incorporating such information, psychological studies of everyday decision making and social communication can not capture the whole picture. The research also highlights a variety of proposed evolutionary explanations for these multisensory aspects of attraction, such as the utility of having traits that can be detected both from a distance (voice and looks), as well as up close (scent).
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First Published: May 22, 2017 12:10 IST