invisible power of fragrance once again surfaces with its prowess to influence
people's perception of weight. After a
five-year study, Dr. Alan R. Hirsch M.D., F.A.C.P. Neurologist and
Psychiatrist, Founder of Smell and Taste, Treatment and Research Foundation,
Chicago, responds to Medindia to the precious question: Does a perfume worn by
a woman alter the perception of her weight? And more.....
Q. Why were only male volunteers selected to
assess the weight of the female model?
From previous studies we observed that women's perception of man did
not have much effect and were not influenced, whereas a man's perception of
women was influenced by emotions. Also, a woman's ability is astute and
critical in assessing. Women are so used to estimating that their emotions are
How did you go about choosing the men to volunteer?
Our team started recruitment beginning from the bars in Chicago, but
dropped the idea of asking for male volunteers there because the men were too
aggressive. We also eliminated people from carnivals and tailors, who estimate
and measure as part of their profession.
So we went to places like football games and baseball games from where
we recruited the male population for our study.
Why was a single woman chosen for the study?
For one, not many women would have been comfortable to volunteer for
the study. Secondly, if there had been a group of women then the variables
would have been too large to handle. We wanted to minimize the variables.
Is it possible that the perception of the model's weight could have been
altered because of her natural odour and not solely because of the perfume she
That is a possibility. Some factors that contribute to affecting body
odour include heavy, spicy food and cigarette smoking for a long term. In fact
there are actually about 30,000 different smells. However in this context,
certain fragrances might have made her feel confident and happier and that
could have also altered the perception of the men.
How did the chosen fragrances affect the perception?
Actually floral shampoos and spicy aromas did not work on all men. But
on men who were influenced by floral and spice odour, the perception of weight
of the model was much lesser compared to the factual weight.
study engaged a woman weighing 245 lb (111.130131 kgs) and 5'9" in height to
assess the impact of scent on the perception of body weight. 199 men between
the age group of 12 and 61 were divided into four groups where 3 groups
consisted of 50 men in each and the fourth group (control group) consisted of
49 men. The fragrances used for the study were a citrus floral, blend of sweet
pea and lily of the valley and a mixture of floral and spices. The study
concluded certain perfumes used by a woman could reduce men's view of the
Medindia wishes Dr. Alan Hirsch and his team
more success with future projects.