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Applied Evolutionary Psychology$
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S. Craig Roberts

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199586073

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586073.001.0001

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Evolutionary psychology and perfume design

Evolutionary psychology and perfume design

Chapter:
(p.330) Chapter 20 Evolutionary psychology and perfume design
Source:
Applied Evolutionary Psychology
Author(s):

S. Craig Roberts

Jan Havlicek

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199586073.003.0020

We argue that the process of perfume design would be enhanced if it was developed with greater understanding of the communicative value of the underlying body odour of the individual who uses it? Evolutionary psychology has, and will continue to, produce insights into the informative capacity of body odour in human perception and its role in social interactions, in five main areas: individual recognition cueing and kin-related behaviour, cues of current state, mediation of female reproductive physiology, cues of underlying good-genes, and cues of complementary genes in partner choice. Since these cues have been shaped by selection over evolutionary time, and play a role in co-ordination of key social interactions, incorporation of this knowledge into perfume design could potentially provide a springboard for transforming the success of specific perfumes. We discuss several promising possible avenues to take this process forward, as well as possible problems with the approach. On balance, we see potential to harness insights from evolutionary psychology to increase both the potency of perfume function and the strategies employed in its marketing.

Keywords:   body odour, olfaction, olfactory perception, cosmetics, fragrance industry, perfumery

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