Perfume Preferences and How They Are Related to Commercial Gender Classifications of Fragrances

Abstract

Perfumes are claimed to be an important factor in human social communication. Previous research on perfumes has mainly considered masculinity and femininity as two opposite poles of the same scale, while in this study, 18 naive participants scaled the femininity and masculinity of 12 perfumes as two independent attributes. They also indicated if they wanted to use the perfumes themselves (self-preference), if they wanted their partners to use the perfumes (partner preference), and the perceived pleasantness. It was found that higher scores of pleasantness were assigned to fragrances for daytime wear. Based on the olfactory description of perfumes available on the web (www.fragrantica.com), a method is proposed to predict the perceived femininity. Predicted values were strongly correlated (r = 0.87, p = 0.0002) with femininity ratings obtained from the panel. The results show that self-preference and partner preference were positively correlated with each other (r = 0.84, p < 0.001) and with the pleasantness, indicating that if the participants liked a perfume, they both wanted to use it themselves and wanted their partner to use it. Nonetheless, the observed correlation is influenced by one perfume that was perceived as unpleasant, and further studies will be required to better understand the gender associations of perfumes and their impact on self-preference and partner preference.

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Correspondence to Anna Lindqvist.

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Lindqvist, A. Perfume Preferences and How They Are Related to Commercial Gender Classifications of Fragrances. Chem. Percept. 5, 197–204 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12078-012-9119-7

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Keywords

  • Perfumes
  • Gender
  • Femininity
  • Masculinity
  • Odor perception
  • Olfaction