New research has found that some men can increase how masculine they come across to the opposite sex just by applying deodorant.
A team at the University of Stirling, UK looked into what effect wearing deodorant had on perceptions of masculinity and femininity.
The team recruited 130 female and male participants and asked them to rate facial masculinity and femininity using photographs.
A further 239 men and women were recruited to rate odor samples of 40 opposite sex individuals.
The team found that all the women, no matter what their initial femininity rating was without deodorant, were rated as more feminine-smelling by men once deodorant was applied.
As for the men however, only those rated as low in masculinity were then rated as significantly more masculine after applying deodorant, making the two male groups essentially indistinguishable in terms of perceived masculinity, men who already were perceived as highly masculine were rated the same whether they applied deodorant or not.
The findings suggest that women are not only more sensitive or attentive to odor cues than men, but also that all the women saw their own femininity rating boosted through fragrance use.
As for the men's more complex results, Dr Caroline Allen, lead author of the study, commented that, "This means that men are able to use deodorant to artificially raise their game so to speak, levelling the playing field by making themselves comparable, at least as far as odor is concerned, to more masculine men. Our evolutionary preferences have likely shaped this difference in fragrance design: research findings show that we actually don't like high levels of masculinity which are often associated with aggressiveness and hostility, but we show no upper limit on our femininity preferences."
The study can be found online in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior.