Evolutionary psychology posits a number of theories regarding mate selection and attraction. In addition to these theories, social psychology has attempted to explain relationship patterns and possibilities of measurable compatibility. There exist theories that innate, biological drives inform mate choice as well as theories regarding personality facets and their impact on mate compatibility. The current study hypothesized that personality traits were detectable in pheromones and could inform one’s preference for a particular pheromone scent. As such, personality traits could be linked to compatibility through the means of innate biological drives. Female college students (odor raters) (N = 12) were asked to assess the odors of t-shirts that had been worn by male college students (odor donors) (N = 45) for Attractiveness, Pleasantness, and Intensity. Prior to these assessments, all participants took a survey that measured their personality on the Big Five Inventory as well as on the Agentic-Communal Values scale. Additionally, males were assessed for symmetry. As predicted, personality traits on the part of the odor donors as well as the odor raters informed odor preferences, with rater openness and agreeableness informing their desirability ratings and donor dominance, extraversion, and openness informing how they were rated. These findings suggest that personality traits may be detectable in pheromones and as such, may inform mate preferences.


Clayton, Susan




Biological Psychology | Personality and Social Contexts | Social Psychology


personality, big five, evolutionary, attraction, pheromone, t-shirt

Publication Date


Degree Granted

Bachelor of Arts

Document Type

Senior Independent Study Thesis



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