Smelling human sex hormone-like compounds affects face gender judgment of men

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Although strong cross-sensory interactions between visual, tactile and auditory modalities have already been shown, we know little about how chemosensory information affects processing in other sensory modalities. We studied whether smelling gender-specific odorous sex hormone-like steroids: 5-α-androgenst-16-en-3-one (androgen) or oestra-1, 3, 5 (10), 16-tetraen-3-ol (estrogen) can bias face gender discrimination. We found that, as a result of inhalation of androgen, men perceive faces to be more masculine as compared to when they are exposed to estrogen. Our results provide evidence for specific cross-sensory effects of the gender-specific chemosensory cues on the categorization of visual face gender.

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