The 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?
AdvertisementA. 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 not affected.
Q. How did you go about choosing the men to volunteer?
A. 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.
Q. Why was a single woman chosen for the study?
A. 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.
Q. 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 wore?
A. 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.
Q. How did the chosen fragrances affect the perception?
A. 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.
The 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 woman's weight.
Medindia wishes Dr. Alan Hirsch and his team more success with future projects.