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Men without a sense of smell exhibit a strongly reduced number of sexual relationships, women exhibit reduced partnership security

Men without a sense of smell exhibit a strongly reduced number of sexual relationships, women exhibit reduced partnership security

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Published by: Psychomaniac on Jan 23, 2013
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01/23/2013

 
ContentslistsavailableatSciVerseScienceDirect
Biological
 
Psychology
Brief 
 
report
Men
 
without
 
a
 
sense
 
of 
 
smell
 
exhibit
 
a
 
strongly
 
reduced
 
number
 
of 
 
sexualrelationships,
 
women
 
exhibit
 
reduced
 
partnership
 
security
 
 
A
 
reanalysis
 
of previously
 
published
 
data
Ilona
 
Croy
a
,
b
,
,
 
Viola
 
Bojanowski
a
,
 
Thomas
 
Hummel
a
a
Smell&TasteClinic,DepartmentofOtorhinolaryngology,UniversityofDresdenMedicalSchool,Dresden,Germany
b
DepartmentofPsychosomaticMedicine,UniversityofDresdenMedicalSchool,Dresden,Germany
a
 
r
 
t
 
i
 
c
 
l
 
e
 
i
 
n
 
f
 
o
 Articlehistory:
Received23April2012Accepted13November2012
Available online xxx
Keywords:
OlfactionAnosmiaSocialsecurityIntimaterelationshipPartnershipSex
a
 
b
 
s
 
t
 
r
 
a
 
c
 
t
Olfactory
 
function
 
influences
 
social
 
behavior.
 
For
 
instance,
 
olfaction
 
seems
 
to
 
play
 
a
 
key
 
role
 
in
 
matechoice
 
and
 
helps
 
detecting
 
emotions
 
in
 
other
 
people.
 
Ina
 
previous
 
study,
 
we
 
showed
 
that
 
people
 
whowere
 
born
 
without
 
asense
 
of 
 
smell
 
exhibit
 
enhanced
 
social
 
insecurity.
 
Based
 
on
 
the
 
comments
 
to
 
thisarticle
 
we
 
decided
 
to
 
have
 
acloser
 
look
 
to
 
whether
 
the
 
absence
 
of 
 
the
 
sense
 
of 
 
smell
 
affects
 
men
 
andwomen
 
differently.
 
Under
 
this
 
focus
 
questionnaire
 
data
 
of 
 
32
 
patients,
 
diagnosed
 
with
 
isolated
 
congenitalanosmia
 
(10
 
men,
 
22women)
 
and
 
36age-matched
 
healthy
 
controls
 
(15
 
men,
 
21
 
women)
 
wasreanalyzed.Inresult,
 
men
 
and
 
women
 
without
 
a
 
sense
 
of 
 
smell
 
reported
 
enhanced
 
social
 
insecurity,
 
but
 
withdifferent
 
consequences:
 
Men
 
who
 
were
 
born
 
without
 
asense
 
of 
 
smell
 
exhibit
 
astrongly
 
reduced
 
numberof 
 
sexual
 
relationships
 
and
 
women
 
are
 
affected
 
such
 
that
 
theyfeelless
 
secure
 
about
 
their
 
partner.
 
Thisemphasizes
 
the
 
importance
 
of 
 
the
 
sense
 
of 
 
smell
 
for
 
intimate
 
relationships.
© 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
1.Introduction
Theolfactorysystemprovidesnumerousfunctionstohumans,influencingingestivebehavior,awarenessofenvironmentalhazardsandsocialcommunication(Stevenson,2010).Additionally olfactionseemstoplayakeyroleinmatechoiceandhelpstodetectemotionsinotherpeople(Prehn-Kristensenetal.,2009).Recently weshowedthatpeoplewhowerebornwithoutasenseofsmell(isolatedcongenitalanosmia(ICA))exhibitenhancedsocialinse-curity,areducednumberofsexualrelationships,increasedriskfordepressivesymptomsandincreasedriskforhouseholdaccidents(Croyetal.,2012).Inthosedomainsthesenseofolfactionseemsto playakeyrole.Thispublicationwasfollowedbysomecommentsanddiscuss-ionsfromcolleaguesandthequestionofsexdifference,especiallyforthesexualrelationshipsarose.Thereisevidencethatwomeningeneralexhibitenhancedolfactoryperformancecomparedtomen,althoughreportedsexdifferencesarenotlarge(DotyandCameron,2009).Women
 
areabletodetectodorsatlowerconcentrationsandhaveabetterperformanceonodoridentification(Hummeletal.,2007).Odorinducedeventrelatedpotentialsrecordedfromthe
Correspondingauthorat:Smell&TasteClinic,DepartmentofOtorhinolaryngo-logy,UniversityofDresdenMedicalSchool,Dresden,Germany.
E-mailaddress:
brainsurfacehavebeenfoundtobeenhancedinwomeninearly(OlofssonandNordin,2004)andlate(Stucketal.,2006)compo- nents.Additionallywomenseemtogivehigherimportancetotheirsenseofsmellcomparedtomen(Croyetal.,2010).Olfactionseems toplayacriticalroleforwomen
 
whenitcomestomatechoice.Theyaremoreconcernedaboutthesmellthanaboutthelookofapotentialmate,whilemen
 
reporttheopposite(HerzandInzlicht,2002).However,ithasnotbeenanalyzedyethowthisroleofthesenseofsmellischangedinpeoplewithabsentolfactoryfunction.There-forewereanalyzedourpreviouslypublisheddatawithregardtosexdifferences.
2.Methods
Dataof32patients,diagnosedwithICA(10men,22women,aged18–46years,meanage31
±
8years)and36age-matchedhealthycontrols(15men,21women,aged18–50years,meanage29
±
7years)wasanalyzed.ANOVArevealed,thattherewas
 
nosignificantdifferenceinage,neitherbetweenthegroups(
 p
=0.39),nor
 
betweenthesex(
 p
=0.57)orintheinteractionofgroupandsex(
 p
=0.53,seeTable1).
Isolatedcongenitalanosmia
wasdiagnosedusingdetailedmedicalhistory,psychophysicalexamination,electrophysiologicalmeasurementsandmagneticres-onanceimaging(fordetailssee(Croyetal.,2012)).Theactualstatusofhealthin the
controls
wascheckedbydetailedmedicalhistory.Normosmicfunctionwasascertainedbyanolfactoryidentificationscreeningtest(Hummeletal.,2001).Patientsandcontrolsreceivedaquestionnaireintendedtoobtaininformationaboutdailylifefunctionsrelatedtoolfaction(fordetailssee(Croyetal.,2012)).This questionnaireaskedabout
ingestion
(eatingbehaviorandbodymassindex),thefrequencyof 
householdaccidents
,about
 personalhygiene
andabout
socialbehavior 
0301-0511/$seefrontmatter
© 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
 
I.Croyetal./BiologicalPsychology
92 (2013) 292–294
293
and
 
communication
(socialinsecurity;statusofpartnership,numberofchildren,satisfactionwithpartnership,theageoffirstsexualintercourse,numberofdifferentsexualpartnersandself-reportedsexualsatisfaction).Furthermorewepresentedthemaquestionnaireforpersonalrelationships(BBE)toobtaininformationaboutattachmenttowardthemother,aclosefriendandtowardthepartner(Asendorpf etal.,1997).Finally,theBeckDepressionInventory(BDI)was
 
presentedto17oftheICApatientsandto33ofthecontrols(Hautzingeretal.,1995).
 2.1.Ethicsstatement 
ThestudyfollowedtheDeclarationofHelsinkionBiomedicalResearchInvolvingHumanSubjectsandwas
 
approvedbytheEthicsCommitteefromtheUniversityof DresdenMedicalSchool(EKnumber126032011).Allparticipantsprovidedwritteninformedconsent.
 2.2.Statisticalanalysis
DatawereanalyzedusingSPSSvs.17(SPSSInc.,IL,USA).Datawas
 
analyzedusingANOVAforthevariablessize,weight,body-massindex,ageoffirstsexualintercourse,numberofsexualrelations,componentsofpreferredfoodandBBE-questionnaireand
-testfor
 posthoc 
-comparison.Bonferroni-correctionwas
 
appliedfor
 
 p
-valueswithintheBBE-questionnaire.Homogeneityofvariancewascheckedwith
 
Levene’s-test.Metricdatanotmeetingthecriteriaforusingparametricstatis-ticswas
 
analyzedwiththeMann–Whitney-test.Thiswas
 
thecaseforthenumberof 
 
sexualrelationships.Forthecomparisonof 
 partnershipstatus
dataweresplitintomen
 
andwomenandChi-Squaretestingwasapplied.Allordinalvariables,namely
eatingbehavior 
,
washingbehavior 
,
satisfactionwithpartnership
and
sexualsatisfaction
wereanalyzedusingMann–Whitneytests.Thelevelofsignificancewas
 
setat0.05.
3.Resultsanddiscussion
Theabsenceofthesenseofsmellaffectssocialsecurityinmenandwomen,buthasadifferentialimpactonsexualbehaviorandpartnership.Nogroupdifferenceswerefoundforvariablesaskingaboutingestionorhygiene.Aswehaveshownpreviously,
congenitalanosmicparticipantsreportedenhancedsocialinsecurity
comparedtohealthycontrols.Theyreportedworryingabouttheirownbodyodor,havingprob-lemsininteractionswithotherpeopleandavoidedeatingwithothers(ANOVAmaineffect
=36.8;
Á
2
=0.38;
 p
<0.001;seeTable1andFig.1).Therewasnosignificantinteractioneffectbetween sexandanosmiaonsocialinsecurity.We
 
thinkitisplausible,thattheabsenceofthesenseofsmellaffectssocialsecurityinbothsexes.Olfactorycuesareabletoconfersocialinformationaboutothers(Stevenson,2010).Specifically,thereisevidence thathumansare,forexample,sensitivetochemosensoryfearsignals(Prehn-Kristensenetal.,2009).Accordinglywe
 
hypoth-esizethatICA-patientshavemoreproblemsinassessingotherpeopleandhenceshowingappropriatesocialbehaviorincertain
Fig.1.
Socialinsecurityinmenandwomenwithout(whitebars)andwith(stripedbars)asenseofsmell.Highvaluesindicatehighsocialinsecurity.Womenandmenwithoutasenseofsmellexhibitasignificantlyreducedsocialsecurity.Errorbarsrepresentsinglestandarddeviation.
circumstances,becausethischannelofcommunicationisclosed.AlternativelyitisalsoplausiblethatICApatientsareworriedabouthowtheyareolfactorilyperceivedbyothersandasaconsequenceexhibitenhancedsocialworries.Asweshowedbefore,ICA-patientsalsoreportedenhanceddepressionscores(Croyetal.,2012).We foundasignificantcorrelationbetweendepressionscoreandsocialworriesforcongenitalanosmics(
=0.64,
 p
=0.006)indicatingacoherencebetweenthosevariables.Itispossiblethatenhancedsocialworriesleadtodepression,forinstancethroughreducedsocialcontacts.However,itisaswellthinkablethatenhanceddepressionsymptomsinfluencethoughtstowardsocialinsecurity.Thecorrelationalnatureofthisresearchdoesnotallowafinalcon-clusion.However,socialinsecuritydidnotleadtodifferencesinbasalparameterslikethepartnershipstatusorinthenumberof childreninICAmen
 
orwomen.Only
 formenastronginfluenceofICAonthenumberofsexualrela-tionships
hasbeenfound(
 p
=0.028,
Á
2
=0.16;compareTable1and Fig.2).Healthymen
 
reportonaveragefivetimesmoresexualrela-tionshipsthancongenitallyanosmicmen.Therewas
 
nosignificantdifferenceinthenumberofsexualrelationshipsinwomenwithorwithoutcongenitalanosmia.TherewasnosignificantcorrelationbetweenBDIscoresandthenumberofsexualrelationships.Onehastonoticethatoursamplesizeisrathersmallandthestandarddeviationinhealthymen
 
isratherlarge.Howevertheeffectsize
 Table1
DescriptivestatisticsandcomparisonbetweenmaleandfemaleICA-patientsandcontrols.Women
 
MenGroupcomparisonICA-patientsHealthycontrolsICA-patientsHealthycontrols
 p
-ValueMean(SD)Mean(SD)Mean(SD)Mean(SD)
 
=22
=21
=10
=15Age29.8(7.7)29.3(7.5)32.0(7.6)29.3(5.2)AllICAvs.controls
 p
=n.s.
*
FemaleICAvs.controls
 p
=n.s.
*
MaleICAvs.controls
 p
=n.s.
*
Partnershipsecurity4.1(0.6)4.6(0.3)4.8(0.2)4.7(0.4)AllICAvs.controls:
 p
=n.s.
*
FemaleICAvs.controls
 p
=0.048
*
MaleICAvs.controls
 p
=n.s.
*
Socialworries2.8(0.6)1.5(0.4)2.2(0.3)1.4(0.4)AllICAvs.controls:
 p
<0.001
*
FemaleICAvs.controls:
 p
<0.001
*
MaleICAvs.controls:
 p
<0.001
*
Median(range) Median(range)Median(range)Median(range)AllICAvs.controls
 p
=0.04
#
Numberofsexualrelationships 3(17) 3(13)1(5)4(29)FemaleICAvs.controls
 p
=n.s.
#
MaleICAvs.controls
 p
=0.028
#
Significantdifferenceshavebeenraisedbetweencongenitalanosmicandhealthywomenforpartnershipsecurityandbetweencongenitalanosmicandhealthymenforthenumberofsexualrelationships.Additionallysignificantdifferencesbetweencongenitalanosmicandhealthypersonsinsocialworries,thathavebeenreportedbefore(Croyet
al.,2012),arevisualized.
Note
:n.s.,notsignificant;*,
-test;#,Mann–Whitney-test.Bonferroni-correctionwasappliedfor
 p
-valueswithintheBEE-questionnaire.

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