Attractiveness Is Not Just Limited to Eye Candy

Young man carrying woman on his back

Rating the attractiveness of someone is usually based upon how they look. Long flowing hair, stunning face, and lithe, muscular limbs do it for most guys, but our other senses also play a large role in how attractive we find someone, says recent research published in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.

Researchers looked at more than 30 years of studies to find some that explored the way someone’s voice and body scent can influence others perceptions of them, and how much insight and information these other factors can give people about another person. They found that it’s easy for people to determine gender and age based on voice alone, which is a pretty obvious finding, but the scientists also discovered that people can discern a subtler and wider range of features from just voice—like dominance, cooperativeness, emotional state, and body size.

Scent also plays a big role in perception of other people’s attractiveness, the researchers found in their review, and actually mirroring some of the same things that hearing can suss out. Recent studies have shown that sight and smell work together to create a stronger picture of an individual than either sense alone would garner.

Taken together, sight, sound, and smell give us a better feeling about someone’s attractiveness—it’s not all about being good-looking. “Perceiving others through all three channels gives a more reliable and broader variety of information about them,” said lead study author Agata Groyecka, a researcher at the University of Wroclaw in Poland.

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