The best place to sell magazines could be in the gym locker room, according to a study which found that pheromones in male sweat makes men opt for a manly read.
Men under the influence of androstenol – a pheromone found in men’s underarm sweat – find men’s lifestyle magazines to be more attractive and are more likely to purchase them than those not exposed to the pheromone, suggests the research.
Michael Kirk-Smith, from the University of Ulster, UK, and Claus Ebster, from the University of Vienna, Austria showed 120 student volunteers three magazines: the female lifestyle magazine Allure, the neutrally pitched National Geographic, and the male lifestyle magazine Men’s Health. The students were split into two groups with equal numbers of men and women. The first group wore a mask sprayed with androstenol and the second wore a mask permeated with a control solvent. The concentrations of the solvents in the masks were low enough as to have imperceptible odour to the wearers.
The two groups were asked to rate the magazines according to how masculine they found each, how appealing and how likely they were to purchase them.
The male participants exposed to androstenol rated Men’s Health as significantly more masculine and more appealing compared with the control group. They also had a higher tendency to report that they might buy the magazine. Women appeared to be completely unaffected by the pheromone.