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Olfactory Cues Modulate Facial Attractiveness Demattè, Österbauer, & Spence.

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Presentation on theme: "Olfactory Cues Modulate Facial Attractiveness Demattè, Österbauer, & Spence."— Presentation transcript:

1 Olfactory Cues Modulate Facial Attractiveness Demattè, Österbauer, & Spence

2 DISCUSSION Girls: Select your choice among the following:  Bad smelling good looking guy  Nice smelling not so good looking guy  Neutral smelling good looking guy What is your choice?

3 FACIAL ATTRACTIVENESS Objective or subjective?

4 Is there such thing as universal beauty / attractiveness? Hola nena… 1313

5 Background  Langlois’ results.  Facial attractiveness-Visual  Facial symmetry  How much a face conforms to an average prototype

6 AVERAGE FACES average averager averagest

7 Background  Attractiveness is not just dependent on the vision but is often adjusted by other sensory cues  Voices have been shown to influence a person’s perceived attractiveness  Olfactory cues (smell) also play an important role in nonverbal communication  A significant positive correlation found between the rated sexiness of a man’s body odor & his facial attractiveness to females

8 Background  Olfactory cues  Major histocompatibility complex - A set of molecules displayed on cell surfaces that are connected to our immune system responses  recognition of "self" and "non-self"  A man’s major histocompatibility complex will help decide how attractive his bodily odor is to females (They prefer those with a different MHC)  Woman’s preference for the scent of some males has been shown to change with her menstrual cycle

9 What do you think about “smelly men”?

10 Why was this investigation carried out?  Until now only one study demonstrated any behavioural effects of olfactory cues in judgements of facial attractiveness.  The investigators decided to conduct a psychophysical study to see if briefly presented olfactory cues can modulate visual judgements of facial attractiveness.  To assess if cues with different hedonic value (pleasant v/s unpleasant) can enhance or reduce the perceived attractiveness of a face.

11 Aim To investigate whether olfactory cues can influence people’s judgments of facial attractiveness

12 Hypothesis  A pleasant versus unpleasant odor can modulate female participants’ ratings of the perceived attractiveness of briefly presented male faces

13 Sample  16 female volunteers  The University of Oxford  Age 20 to 34  ‘Blind’ at beginning  Completed a questionnaire ensure that they had a normal sense of smell, no history of olfactory dysfunction, & normal vision  Confounding variables!  Chose women because previous research has suggested that females may be more sensitive to the effects of olfactory cues than males

14 Materials  40 male faces for visual stimuli  From a standardized database  Extensively characterized for attractiveness & categorized into high, medium, & low attractiveness  20 faces from each of the high & low groups

15  4 odors (2 male & 2 non-male) & clean air  2 pleasant odors: geranium & male cologne ‘‘Gravity”  2 unpleasant odors: male body odor & rubber  A custom-built computer-controlled olfactometer was used to deliver the odorants

16 Procedure/method  Laboratory experiment  Repeated measures design  Subject to order effects (Counterbalancing)  IV= Pleasant odors, unpleasant odors, neutral odors  DV=Modulation of female participants’ ratings of the perceived attractiveness of male faces

17 Procedure/method  3 blocks of 40 random trials (each person completed 120 trials)  Each face was randomly presented 3 times during each session  Once with a pleasant odor  Once with an unpleasant odor  Once with a neutral odor (i.e., clean air)

18 Procedure/method  Participant sat staring at a computer with their chins on a chin rest  They were told to look at a fixation mark on the screen  Quiet tone  exhale  Louder tone  odor was released (inhale)  They had to indicate if an odor had been released or not using the keyboard  1 second later one of the faces appeared for ½ second in the center of the screen  As soon as the face disappeared the odor stopped and clean air was delivered.  The screen then turned black

19 Procedure/method  Then a 9-point rating scale appeared and the participants were to rate the perceived attractiveness of the face that they had just seen  1 (least attractive) to 9 (most attractive)  As soon as they made their rating, clean air was delivered and the next trial started

20 Procedure/method  At the end each participant was asked to smell the odors individually & to rate each odor on several different dimensions use a pen and paper  Labeled Magnitude Scale (LMS) from  odor intensity  odor pleasantness  odor familiarity  The order of presentation of the odors and the scales was randomized between participants

21 Label Magnitude Scale  What is the difference between this and a Likert Scale?  Between this and a forced choice?

22 Procedure/method  In order to counterbalance the presentation of each face/odor combination, the entire set of 40 faces was divided into 4 groups of 10 faces each (5 high attractiveness & 5 low attractiveness) with close to the same mean attractiveness.  Each group of faces was then presented with 1 different possible combination of pleasant– unpleasant odors, counterbalanced across participants.  ABBA

23 Procedure/method  So each participant rated faces presented with clean air, the geranium odor, & the body odor during the experiment faces with clean air, the male perfume, & the rubber odor faces with clean air, geranium odor, & the rubber odor faces clean air, the male perfume, & the body odor.  The same odor was never presented to participants on consecutive trials.  The experiment lasted for approximately 50 min in total.

24 ACTIVITY  Get into your groups and using the sheet as a guide, discuss the results and conclusions.

25 Results/Findings  Faces  significantly less attractive when presented with unpleasant odor than when presented with either a pleasant odor or with the neutral clean air  Didn’t matter if the odor was body relevant  There was no significant difference between pleasant versus neutral clean air

26 Discussion  Adds to a growing list of studies:  1. Presence of olfactory cues can exert a small but significant influence on people’s judgments of a variety of non-olfactory stimulus attributes/qualities (Smell matters)  2. Presence of fragrance cues can influence people’s evaluation of job applicants  Would be interesting to see what happens under more ecologically valid conditions

27 Ethics  Ethical standards  1964 Declaration of Helsinki  A set of ethical principles regarding human experimentation developed for the medical community by the World Medical Association (WMA)~ Widely regarded as the foundation of human research ethics  Department of Experimental Psychology, University of Oxford

28 Evaluation  Strengths  Controlled  Counterbalanced to control for order effects  Replicable  Weaknesses  Generalization (population/sample)  Demand characteristics  Halo dumping  Validity (ecological, construct)

29 Evaluation  Were the effects due to a halo-dumping?  When a certain characteristic (smell) is unavailable  using the one of another sense to describe it. This can lead participants to ‘dump’ the values they could use  So they describe a smell as sweet when it is really vanilla (sweet is for taste)  In this case they might have been expressing their like or dislike of the odor on the facial attractiveness scale  Possible as they only had one scale to use, so couldn’t separate their evaluations

30 Evaluation  Demattè et al say no  the participants in the study had to perform an odor detection task at the beginning of each trial, meaning that odor and visual information were responded to as 2 distinct and individuated  ‘‘Attractiveness’’ is a clear, natural, & easy characteristic to consider when rating human faces, so it is unlikely that the participants had doubts concerning which variable they were supposed to rate in the task  Are vision and smell easy to confound?

31 Vocabulary  Counterbalance (ABBA)  facial attractiveness  halo-dumping  Labeled Magnitude Scale  major histocompatibility complex  olfaction  olfactory cues  order effects  pilot  repeated measures design

32 Summary facial-attractiveness/


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