Love Stinks

A recent study suggests that being “deeply in love” can alter the way heterosexual women register other men’s scents.

In a study conducted by McGill University in Montreal, Canada, 20 young women were asked to fill out a Passionate Love Scale questionnaire (pdf), in order to determine how deeply they loved their partners. Next, the women were given seven t-shirts, one of which belonged to their boyfriend, four that belonged to close friends, and two that were worn by strangers. While all the women were equally able to pick out their lover's scent, they found that the women who rated “deeply in love” on the Passionate Love Scale were less able to distinguish a male friend’s odor from that of the strangers. Neurologist Johan Lundström believes that this study backs a theory known as “deflection,” which argues that the love we have for one person limits the attention we are able to give to other potential lovers. No word yet on whether this is also true of men, or gay couples. [New Scientist]