We see it on TV and movies all the time, but how do affairs start…
We all know the story … eyes meet across a crowded room and it’s love at first sight.
But we may actually fall in love at first sniff, researchers say.
Psychologists looking through three decades of research discovered that how a prospective partner smells is key.
We believe that your sense of smell is your most powerful sense as it is the sense that is linked the closest to your memories and your emotions. Scent has the power to make your body react on a decision before you’ve even perceived what is happening. Simply put, this is because your sense of smell is directly linked to the limbic system in the brain which is the most primitive part that controls your feelings and memories. That’s why a scent that you haven’t felt since you were a child may still feel sharp and familiar, or why a scent you really like can deeply affect your wellbeing and mood.
Someone’s scent forms an important part of our first impression of them as it can give us clues about them.
When the scent just clicks
We can agree that nothing smells as attractive as the person that is a perfect match for you. Neuroscientist and doctor Katarina Gospic explains that one often (consciously or subconsciously) feels attracted to a person whose genes are different than one’s own. The non-scented substance pheromones that one person exudes can trigger an ovulation in another person with ovaries, given that their set of genes are NOT similar. In other words, our nose helps us make the choice of which partner to procreate with to ensure a good set of genes.
In addition to the biological aspect, there is something magical about the power that scent can have in provoking strong feelings of hate, disgust or attraction. Everyone knows the feeling of being soothed by or attracted to the scent of your partner. Notice how some bury their noses in their darling’s hair and how others can’t stop smelling their partner’s t-shirt. Couples have long witnessed how fragrance chemistry affects their love and lust.
Our noses are the best compass to find a suitable partner because of two reasons: pheromones and MHC, the genes that compose a great part of our immune system. Many species of the animal kingdom communicate through pheromones. These chemical signs unconsciously help both males and females of a species demonstrate sexual availability.
Sexual attraction continues to be one of life’s great mysteries. Perhaps you have a type when it comes to your dream partner: tall, short, brunette, crazy about exercise or a chef in the kitchen. However, we usually fall for something else entirely. Even if there is no scientific explanation regarding how a certain perfume would govern our choice of partner, a distinctive scent may very well be part of the package you fall in love with.
Researchers agree that our sense of smell is important to human relationships, and that we are hard-wired to be drawn to people whose scent we like—be it from a bottle or their armpits. But the idea that humans emit invisible chemicals that could drive us to a partner is hardly the consensus today.
Scent can make us fall in love, thus in relationships, ‘trust your sense of smell, it’s often right’!
Some scents can make us appear more attractive to potential partners. Take the aroma of grapefruit. A study by the Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago found the aroma of grapefruit on women made men perceive them as five years younger than they really were. The researchers think it’s because the grapefruit scent induces feelings of happiness, making women more endearing and attractive to men.