, Volume 4, Issue 4, pp 186-194
Date: 18 Oct 2011

Does Length of Sampling Affect Quality of Body Odor Samples?

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A number of recent studies use body odor samples to study how odor affects various human social interactions. However, the methods used vary considerably, and only limited attention has been paid to the validity of the particular approaches adopted. One of the crucial points in body odor sampling is its length. Here we report the results of a study that tested the effects of using two different sampling periods, namely 12 and 24 h, on subsequent odor perception. Our results show significantly higher ratings of pleasantness and attractiveness, and lower ratings of intensity and masculinity, for the 12-h sampling condition. Further analysis of the data distribution suggests higher skew and a potential floor effect in hedonic ratings derived from the 24-h condition. These data imply that sampling length has a significant impact on perceived body odor quality and should thus be considered when designing studies in this area and in interpretation of results across studies.