In the sweaty tee-shirt activity we attempt to gauge correlations between symmetry in males, manifest through measurements of the hands, with scent. In this study the males in the class are asked to wear white cotton tee-shirts for a minimum of 12 hours over a two night period (so 6 hours each night) and to provide us with measurement of each finger of both hands (from base to tip). Additionally, we ask participants to complete 30 jumping jacks before going to bed and to NOT drink, smoke, wear cologne, deodorant, eat “smelly” foods, or have sex (or intimate relations in general) while wearing the shirts. Worn shirts are returned to us in gallon storage bags, each with an assigned number that corresponds to the wearer. Once shirts are in and hands are measured, the female students then smell the shirts – rating their odor and level of attractiveness (being either positive or negative). Females are also asked where they are in their menstrual cycle in an effort to understand the effect of estrogen levels on perceptions of scent. Finally, all data is compiled, analyzed, and presented to the participants.
The results of the experiment are interesting!
For starters, the males in the class are incredibly symmetrical (at least according to their own measurements) and there was no real correlation this year between symmetry and smell.
Also there was no real correlation between birth control, of any kind, or a lack thereof and smell.
This year it all came down to cycle. And it’s not even that the guys necessarily smell better – just steadily less gross (which is, I guess, all you would need).