UBC Faculty Research and Publications

What Your Nose Knows : Affective, Cognitive, and Behavioral Responses to the Scent of Another Person Hofer, Marlise; Chen, Frances S.; Schaller, Mark, 1962-


People readily perceive and react to the body odors of other people, with a wide range of implications for affective, cognitive, and behavioral responses. This article provides an overview of recent research in this area. It summarizes the process by which people associate body odors with different kinds of interpersonally relevant information, briefly reviews two lines of research on responses to strangers’ body odors (research on olfactory cues and emotions; research on olfactory cues and impression formation), and also reviews new research on the psychological consequences of smelling loved ones’ odors—including consequences for stress reduction and sleep enhancement. It concludes with a discussion of emerging research questions and methodological considerations that may help guide future inquiry into the various ways that the odors of other people influence our emotions, cognitions, relationships, and health.

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