Beauty isn’t always in the eye of the beholder. Sometimes, it’s in the ears or nose of the beholder, too.
New research indicates that a person’s voice and scent can be just as important as physical appearance in how attractive someone is to others.
The findings — from a review of 30 years of published research — appear in the journal Frontiers in Psychology.
“Recently, most reviews have focused on visual attractiveness — for example, face or body attractiveness,” said lead author Agata Groyecka, a researcher at the University of Wroclaw in Poland.
But more research has been done on other senses and their role in social relations, and these findings shouldn’t be neglected, she added.
“Perceiving others through all three channels gives a more reliable and broader variety of information about them,” Groyecka said in a journal news release.
Along with gender and age, a person’s voice can reveal a wide range of traits, including dominance, cooperativeness, emotional state and even body size.
And recent research has shown that scent can also reveal similar types of information.
Groyecka suggested a number of evolutionary explanations for these different aspects of attraction, such as the usefulness of having traits that can be detected both from a distance (voice and looks), as well as up close (scent).
The American Academy of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery explains how the voice works.