There’s a whole lot of interesting research out there about pheromones.
I’ve read that folks are making perfumes with pheromones in them to help you attract the right partner…crazy! Then again, I’ve also heard that all you have to do is wear the smell of vanilla or chocolate chip cookies and a parade of men will follow you down the street. LOL…wouldn’t it be fun if it were that easy?
Well, it’s true…pheromones are believed to alert both sexes to potential genetic compatibility. The genes that make-up your major histocompatibility complex (MHC) play an important role in regulating your body’s immune response — most notably in determining compatibility of donors for organ transplant. Some data have shown that the more dissimilar a man and woman’s MHC are, the more likely they are to bring a child to term — but even more interesting is that women are thought to be capable of actually smelling this genetic difference. Cool, huh?
In a study led by Claus Wedekind at the University of Bern in Switzerland, women were asked to smell T-shirts that had been worn by anonymous men for two nights and chose shirts that appealed to them. According to the researchers, the women consistently preferred the odors of shirts worn by men with dissimilar MHCs.
Even more interestingly, in the same study, the womens’ preference for men of dissimilar MHCs was actually reversed when the women rating the odors were taking oral contraceptives. Ack!
Makes you wonder what effect birth control pills might have on choosing the right person, huh? Don’t get me wrong – I’m in favor of using birth control, but this certainly raises eyebrows.
What do you think of this research? I’d love to know…
Photo credit: AlishaV’s Flickr photostream