The U.S. researchers have found that the scent of a woman, who is close to the period of ovulation, increases the level of testosterone in other ladies, which in turn makes them aggressive. This paper is published in the Evolution and Human Behavior journal.
It is known that some people find the smell of ovulation enjoyable, but they do not realize how much it affects their behavior. Previously, Jon Maner from Florida State University had found that it could increase testosterone levels in men – the participants of the study became more eager to flirt and face risks. The next time, Maner and his colleague James McNulty decided to find out how the same smell affected the ladies themselves.
To do this, they conducted a study, which involved several groups of volunteers. Two groups of girls aged 18 to 21 years were given T-shirts: the first group was wearing them in their peak period of fertility, that is, on the 13-15th day of the menstrual cycle, while the second group was wearing the T-shirt in the period of low fertility rates (20 ± 22 days). In this case, they were asked to refrain from sexual activity, wash the body with odorless soap and shampoo, not to use perfume and deodorant, and not to eat such “smelly” products as, for example, garlic.
The third group of the volunteers was simply asked to sniff the worn T-shirts – the scientists told the girls that the essence of the study was to assess “how much we could say about the other person without ever seeing her” rather than to explain how or when these clothes must be worn.
It was found that the women, who “sniffed” the smell of the girls at the peak of fertility, had their levels of testosterone increase – and conversely, the smell of the participants with low fertility significantly reduced it. It has already been shown that testosterone is associated with aggression and the spirit of competition, so the scientists believe the smell of women during ovulation affects not only men, but the weaker sex as well, making the ladies more hostile to each other.