The Scientific Story of Genetic-Based Human Attraction

The science of pheromones has been around for decades. They are proven to play a role in attraction all the way from insects to animals to humans. ‘Opposites attract’ is the basis for attraction. The more differentiated the DNA between two individuals, the more likely they are to be attracted to one another. The way species can ‘sense’ how different the DNA is in a potential mate is through smelling their pheromones. Pheromones are small molecules that we are always emitting from our body. We are subconsciously always smelling each other and our brain is processing that smell. If the pheromones tickle our brain just the right way, we call that love at first sight.

The first evidence for pheromones and genetics affecting human attraction and compatibility was in the 1980s (Giphart et al. 1983). However, the famous study coined “The Sweaty T-shirt Experiment” is what really put pheromones and genetic-based human attraction in the spotlight (Wedekind et al. 1995). The scientists had women smell and rate “sweaty” t-shirts that men wore to bed for three consecutive nights. Wedekind found that women were more attracted to the scent of men who had diverse genetics compared to their own. He replicated this study again in 1997 with stronger results supporting the same finding; attraction via pheromones is based on genetic diversity of 11 “attraction” genes. In 1997 another group of scientists put Wedekind’s findings to the test by looking at these attraction genes within 411 couples (Ober et al. 1997). Again, genetic-based human attraction was proven by demonstrating that these couples had genetically diverse attraction genes. The first double-blind study for pheromone and genetic-based attraction was performed in 2002 and added additional support to this finding (Jacob et al. 2002). Because scientists really like to be sure, attraction due to pheromones and diverse attraction genes was validated and published again in 2003 (Thornhill et al.), 2005 (Santos et al.), 2008 (Lie et al.), 2008 again (Chaix et al.), and 2016 (Kromer et al.). Scientists even showed that couples with genetically diverse attraction genes have better sex lives and decreased infidelity (Garver et al. 2006). Pheromones and genetic-based human attraction studies have proven for decades to be an indicator of attraction and compatibility.  Pheramor will tap into this established research and help our users go on better first dates!