Since I am a male I was given a plain white T-shirt in class and told to wear it at least 2 nights then seal it back in its Ziploc bag. While wearing the shirt it had to be on for a minimum of six hours for two nights. If I was going to choose to shower while conducting this experiment. I had to take a shower precisely 1 hour before putting on the T-shirt. Before getting into bed with the shirt I would have to do 30 jumping jacks before going to bed, so that some of my body odor would stick to the shirt. I was not allowed to drink, smoke, wear cologne,body spray, deodorant, eat smelly foods, and zero sex with the shirt on. While doing all of this I also had to measure the length of my fingers for my left and right hands and record the information on a questionnaire online. The females role is to smell the t-shirts to test if she is grossed out by the smell or attracted by the body odor depending on hormone changes. I unfortunately was not able to follow the instructions 100%. The only thing I broke was “no deodorant” because I break out in that area if I do not wear any. Gross, right?
For the disgust study we had in class, my answers did not change towards the people. Being disgusted or not, I felt the same way about the people’s attractiveness. I learned that for most people their feelings did change when they were disgusted. It was very interesting to find out the increased percentages on rating attractiveness that changed after people were disgusted. It makes sense that people found the pictures more attractive after viewing disturbing pictures. But I would like to know why I personally did not find the people more attractive after I watched the gruesome pictures. What factors, if any, did I manipulate? Doing this study makes me realize we have many factors that determine our daily decisions and we should recognize the factors that play into each situation we are faced with.
The disgust study was where the students individually observed pictures of various males and females posing with a neutral emotion. They were asked to rate how much more or how much less attractive each person was from the previous participant observed. I remember there were a couple of flaws that were not taken into account with the data when we went over the results in class, such as the diversity and different ethnicities that make up our classroom. I found it slightly odd that numerous male participants observed were rated more attractive than the one before by the males in our class rather than the opposite-sex. The females seemed to be less aggressive when deciding the increase or decrease in a subjects attractiveness especially dealing with same sex when compared to the males. I feel like this study should be repeated two times per month since females desire two types of males each month. I believe this will show a drastic change from the first and second study since females will be looking for a masculine male at one point and then desiring a softie and/or good provider on the other side of the month.
Whereas the “disgust” activity was purely sight, the t-shirt activity gave important insight into how crucial the other senses can be in terms of attraction. Upon starting the activity, when taking the survey, I did not expect to ascertain any noticeable difference in attraction to certain smells. I mean, all boys have generally the same body odor, right? NOPE. Some of those boys need to take showers a bit more regularly, or figure out how to sweat less…maybe turn on a fan before going to sleep. There were several shirts that had definite negative smells, several with definite positive, and several with no smell at all, for me. While the positive smells smelled good, I found myself more drawn to the shirts that did not have much smell at all. I don’t know whether this is indicative of my “type” or what, but I think those shirts acted as a neutralizer after smelling strong body odors either positively or negatively. I also wonder if my nose became desensitized after smelling several of the shirts, and if I would rate the same shirts differently if I did them a second time. I would bet yes. I am interested to see how birth control weighs in to the results. Would it really alter sense of smell that much? Or does it have to do with libido levels over all? I do remember not being attracted to anything quite as much when I was on birth control.
While the results of the activity might prove otherwise, I think it’s important to note that participants in the activity who have experience with anthropological studies might have had an idea of what might be coming. This could have skewed some results. My answers might say differently, I cannot remember how I rated each individual, but I know I tried to rate the individuals moderately even after seeing the photos of rashes and diseases. This may not have helped me to stay neutral, but I recall actively trying to push the photo of the previous rash out of my mind before rating whatever individual was on the screen each time. Maybe a point can be drawn from that though, that I was actively trying to ignore what would be considered an “unattractive” image in order to be unbiased concerning the next. This in itself is proof that the photos are disturbing and skew the vision of participants with any photos following. I wonder how different the ratings would be if time differences were added in to the mix (i.e. looking at nasty photos, taking different increments of breaks, then rating the individuals). There are so many variables in this project, too, that can change the outcome of the survey. The rater could be in a bad mood or a good mood, and their ratings could change dramatically. I myself realized that I was also a lot stricter in rating on the second day of ratings.
In the film “The Science of Sex Appeal,” there was a segment discussion how throughout the women’s minstrel cycle her preference for different smells changes. The hormones in the women’s body make her prefer one smell to another. In our class, we had all the males take a white t-shirt and then wear it for a certain amount of time. After they returned the t-shirt they placed the shirts in bags. Once they incubated for an allotted amount of time the women in the class came and smelled all the shirts. The women rated the shirts by giving it a positive, negative, or no effect and then the data will be processed. Since I do not have the results yet, I cannot tell you how this activity turned out. I am excited to see what the results say, and this is one of my favorite activities of the semester.
I thought the disgust study was an interesting exercise. The first round, I had no clue what the study was about, because we were just looking at furniture and then random people. However, after the second round it started to make sense. I think I kept my ratings of the people about the same though. It was interesting to see how everyone rated it though. I was surprised at some of the ones that were rated more attractive by a large increase. I think the guys changed their opinions more than the girls did, especially when it came to other guys. Are we nicer to our own sex after we’ve been disgusted? I don’t know, but I think many cool conclusions could be made from this study. In class we discussed how to make the study even more efficient, which is something I would not have thought about. We talked about how some people were in class for the first round, but not for the second. Things like that. I never realized how much went into a study. There is a lot to factor in.
When I participated in this experiment, I had a predisposition to being disgusted. I think this happened because we heard the instructions given to the men (sleep with this t-shirt wearing no deodorant), and all I could think was: “Oh God, they are going to make us smell them”. And it is strange because we know the source of those t-shirts and have an idea of how attractive men in our class are, so I think it would have been better if we did not know these things.
I think that this experiment is an effective way to see how people rate attractiveness differently after being disgusted; but I think that there are many factors that influenced us when we were rating the subjects, and that might have affected the results. An example of this is that all the subjects have different ethnicities; and since we do not know what the experiment is about, we might try to rate them in a way that we do not seem racist. The second time we rated the people, it was different, not only because of the disgust part, but because we were already familiar with the pictures, and we remember more or less our first impressions and how we rated them the first time.
The disgust assignment allowed me zoom in and pay further attention to the way in which we think about/perceive things or people after exposure to different things. Being a guy, I really didn’t think much of the whole disgust part of the activity as factors of that kind provide little factors in my perception of others. I pretty much rated the people the same way as I did before. However, it’s interesting to see how others respond in similar situations, noting that a few of the results changed drastically and surprisingly in my opinion. The biggest take away in the activity for me is that when we expose ourselves to certain things, we often tend to display it by finding comfort in other things that we thought were bad at first, but evidently not as bad as it could be.