Consumers worldwide annually spend vast amount of wealth and efforts to hide, to eliminate, or to enhance their natural body odors. This behavior contradicts the widespread notion that our olfactory sense plays a subordinate or unimportant role in our everyday social interaction. Humans has for many years been considered as a microsmatic animal which possess an olfactory apparatus that can almost be considered as a residual organ. However, recent discoveries have falsified that assumption. We now know that our olfactory sense is far more superior than previously acknowledged in that our sensitivity to certain odorants are higher than comparative species, we are able to extract complex genetic information from body odors, and that body odors are processed in the brain by specialized neuronal networks in very fast an accurate manner.
We are currently investigating, among other questions, how our brain can make accurate kin judgments based solely on cues residing in our body odors using both behavioral and neuroimaging methods. Moreover, we are also investigating behavioral effects of putative human pheromones and body odor mixtures and how these effects are modulated by social cues.