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The claim

Researchers in Texas claim to have discovered that men can judge the fertility of women by the way they smell. Better yet, they can even tell from the smell of a worn T-shirt.

The setup

23 ladies were kept under austerely atypical conditions for a month or so, denied the luxuries of sex, perfume (including perfumed soap or deodorant), spicy food and other sources of smell pollution. Two of the victims had to drop out of the experiment because they gave in to pizza and cigarettes. The rest were given two T-shirts to wear at night, one to wear during the fertile part of their cycle (13 to 15 days after their last period) and the other for the infertile part (days 21 and 22).

Then the T-shirts were passed around to a panel of male volunteers. The men were told that some of the T-shirts were from attractive women and others not, and to try to identify the attractive women by the smell of their T-shirts.

The Results

The men resoundingly voted the T-shirts from the fertile women as belonging to more attractive women. In other words, the men were able to tell the difference in smell between women in their fertile or infertile phase.

My own comments

The above experiment is fine and good, and I feel some interesting conclusions can be drawn. For instance, maybe women who have trouble getting a date should switch T-shirts with their roommates?

I'm sure this has not been the last word in human pheromone experimentation. As an update, I've recently read a report by a University that claims to have gotten vastly different results. My suggestion for a test setup is this: Why not let those lucky volunteers sniff panties, which are arguably closer to the source of a woman's fertility?


  • http://www.newscientist.com/news/news.jsp?id=ns9999591

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