Event Abstract

Sexual orientation effects on the perception of human body odor and its components

  • 1 Heinrich-Heine-University, Institute of Experimental Psychology, Germany

Humans convey a variety of information about themselves through their body odor, one of which is the sex of the individual. Androstenone is discussed as being a compound contributing significantly to male body odor. Here, the perception of androstenone as a function of sexual orientation in men was investigated. Isovaleric acid, another compound of human body odor, served as a control substance. Homosexual men displayed higher sensitivity to the odor of androstenone than heterosexual men. Surprisingly, subjective ratings of the odor’s pleasantness, unpleasantness, intensity, or familiarity did not differ between homosexual and heterosexual men, neither did subjective emotional responses. Homosexual and heterosexual men did not differ in their perception of isovaleric acid.

Future research is needed to clarify if and how differences in the perception of human chemosensory social signals translate into behavior. Necessarily, the current results are to be extended to the perception of androstenone in women. Moreover, future studies are planned investigating sexual orientation effects on the perception of complex human body odors.

Conference: Summer School on Human Olfaction, Dresden, Germany, 19 Jul - 25 Jul, 2009.

Presentation Type: Poster Presentation

Topic: Abstracts

Citation: Lubke K and Pause B (2009). Sexual orientation effects on the perception of human body odor and its components. Conference Abstract: Summer School on Human Olfaction. doi: 10.3389/conf.neuro.09.2009.12.020

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Received: 23 Jul 2009; Published Online: 23 Jul 2009.

* Correspondence: Katrin Lubke, Heinrich-Heine-University, Institute of Experimental Psychology, Dusseldorf, Germany, katrin.luebke@uni-duesseldorf.de