A lot of men and women want to be attractive and they believe attraction is tied to their looks, but attractiveness isn’t just a matter of good looks, but also the right voice and scent, a recent study has found.
“Recently, most reviews have focused on visual attractiveness — for example, face or body attractiveness,” says Agata Groyecka, lead author of the review and a researcher at 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.”
Groyecka and her team of researchers combed through over 30 years of literature to provide a brief overview of the few studies that have looked into the role of voice and scent.
They discovered that the nose and ears are just as important as the eyes in noticing how attractive someone is. “Perceiving others through all three channels gives a more reliable and broader variety of information about them,” says Groyecka.
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’t capture the whole picture. Groyecka’s review 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).
“I hope that this review will inspire researchers to further explore the role of audition and olfaction in social relations,” says Groyecka.
This mini review is found in Frontiers in Psychology.