Sweaty T-Shirt Experiment

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.

Step 1: Guys recieve their tee-shirts at the start of class
Step 1: Guys receive their tee-shirts at the start of class

 

Step 2: Smelling the tee-shirts
Step 2: and recording

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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.

Comparison of symmetry of the digits and smell
Comparison of symmetry of the digits and smell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also there was no real correlation between birth control, of any kind, or a lack thereof and smell.

Data highlighting high and low ratings and contraceptive use
Data highlighting high and low ratings and contraceptive use

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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).

Notice the steady decline of negative scores!
Notice the steady decline of negative scores!

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