Health

Four things you should know about smell

It’s a matter of anatomy

“The biological reason behind this is that women have 50% more neurons in their olfactory bulbs (the parts of the brain related to the sense of smell), which provides them with better olfactory sensitivity,” says Dr Prerna Kohli, a psychologist in Gurugram. This is possibly why a number of products that smell good are targeted at women.

Sensory marketing targets the nose too

In the past, brands looked at visual marketing — think shop windows, trial rooms. Recent research by the NPD group that does market research says that women in America are 35% more likely than men to pick a scent based on moods. Noticed the number of stores that have a signature fragrance that makes you want to linger simply because they may have a pleasing effect on how you feel? “The trend now is towards experiential marketing and sensorial marketing is a part of that,” says Prof Shuvam Chatterjee, an assistant professor at IMS Unison University, Dehradun and a research scholar at IIT Dhanbad, who is studying the subject. This psychological twist to marketing can lure people into purchases. “Don’t forget the product, and don’t let marketing seduce you,” he says. Not even that aroma of coffee wafting out the local café.

Women ‘sniff out’ mates

It’s something scientists call major histocompatibility. Genes help us “sniff out genetic compatibility with a potential partner based on their immune system, to make sure that our offspring’s immune system covers a wide range of diseases,” says Dr Kohli. Simply put, this means that we are more liable to choose someone from a different genetic pool, so our kids are protected from a variety of diseases and get a health advantage from the word go.

Man smells aren’t easily overpowered

It’s no wonder then that nature has intended for men’s body odours not to get as easily masked as women’s, says research from the Monell Chemical Senses Center, USA. But, clarifies Dr Kohli, this isn’t the only thing we look at while ‘sniffing out’ our mates. Well, clean nails and shoes count too.


Our code of editorial values

Related Topics
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

Printable version | Aug 1, 2021 1:55:04 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sci-tech/health/four-things-you-should-know-about-smell/article22855966.ece

Next Story