The Smell of Success?—The Impact of Perfume-Gender Congruency on Ratings of Attraction and the Halo Effect


Research into the concept of attraction has indicated the existence of olfactory influences that go beyond pheromonal level. Synthetic fragrances have been found to affect not only perception of attraction, but also attribution of beauty-unrelated intrinsic characteristics. The present study aimed to examine the impact of perfume-gender congruency on ratings of attractiveness and any perfume-generated halo effect. Male faces categorized as low, medium and high attractiveness were rated by 36 heterosexual female students across six domains: attractive, reliable, outgoing, intelligent, wealthy and socially competent. Ratings were made in the presence of a female perfume (incongruent condition), male perfume (congruent condition) or a no perfume control condition, with participants randomly allocated to produce three groups of equal size. The results indicated that 1) attractiveness generated a significant halo effect; 2) the male perfume did not significantly enhance perception of attractiveness compared to the female perfume; and 3) the gender-congruent fragrance heightened attribution of “halo” characteristics. These results indicate that gender congruent perfume can impact positively on first impressions beyond attractiveness, and are discussed in terms of possible mechanisms and implications.

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Marinova, R. and Moss, M. (2014) The Smell of Success?—The Impact of Perfume-Gender Congruency on Ratings of Attraction and the Halo Effect. Advances in Chemical Engineering and Science, 4, 491-502. doi: 10.4236/aces.2014.44051.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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