Scientists Introduce New Speed Dating: Pick Partner Through Their Smell

Mark J Terrill AP
Mark J Terrill AP

A group of scientists from the United States and Great Britain are working together to introduce a new type of sensory speed dating, which asks blindfolded suitors to pick a partner based uponthe smell of their armpits, among other things.

Speed dating, which has become less popular in the digital age, asks singles to play a sort of date roulette, where they share basic information with one another in hopes of establishing a connection. However, this particular event focuses on attraction’s instinctual and scientific side.

Although it is still a speed-dating event, researchers hope to spark discussion about the prominent role science plays in sensory perception, which influences our behavior towards potential partners.

“Did you ever meet someone that you really liked the smell of? It might be because of something called histocompatibility. There was a study that showed that women preferred the smell of men with different immune systems than them, which can lead to healthier offspring,” event co-host Olivia Koski told Breitbart News.

Koski also revealed results and details from last Friday’s proceedings, the date of the first session, saying it was a “great success” and that the group believes participants got more out of the experience from an educational aspect, rather than just exchanging contact information.

We had 60 attendees, 10 rounds of sensory interactions, and dozens of matches.
Out of 150 interactions (15 tables with a pair of strangers seated at each, and 10 rounds), 40 led to the two strangers involved to say “Yes” to exchanging contact information. Even though most of the time, they hadn’t even seen the person (attendees were blindfolded for 8 of the rounds)!
It was pretty spread out in terms of which types of rounds led to matches. That is, the matching didn’t seem to depend on whether it was a “sound” round, “taste” round, “touch” round, or “smell” round.

“If we had to consciously take in all of the sensory stimuli coming at us, all the time, it would be overwhelming,” event host Heather Berlin, who is also a neuroscientist, told Vocativ. “But the brain’s unconscious processing capacity is much larger. Our brain is taking in sensory information and making decisions and evaluations about our environments, and affecting our behavior, whether we go left or right or whether we’re attracted to this person or that person.”

Berlin also says trusting on your sense of smell may be a better strategy to finding your ideal partner: “You meet someone and they seem to be really good on paper but people say, ‘The chemistry wasn’t there,’ or, ‘I didn’t have that special magic spark.’ And I think what they’re really referring to are all these unconscious cues that are telling us whether we’re attracted to somebody or not.”

The first event was held in Brooklyn, NY on March 13, but not to worry, if you’re interested in getting your smell on to find love, you have another chance on April 4.