J Soc Psychol. 2008 Dec;148(6):765-73.
Beauty is mostly in the eye of the beholder: olfactory versus visual cues of attractiveness.
Olfaction is an important determinant of attractiveness, possibly even more so than vision when judgments are made by women. However, research that directly compares these cues using actual stimuli (e.g., t-shirt odors) is lacking. In this study, 44 women rated the attractiveness of t-shirt odors and facial photographs of 21 men either independently (i.e., first rated t-shirts, then rated photographs) or together (i.e., made overall ratings on the basis of t-shirts and photographs presented simultaneously). Photograph ratings were far more predictive of overall attractiveness than were t-shirt ratings. This was true for female participants who were fertile or infertile (i.e., using hormonal birth control). Body odor only predicted overall attractiveness when fertile women made the ratings.