Interpersonal defensiveness and diminished perceptual acuity for the odor of a putative pheromone: Androstenone

John P. Kline, Gary E. Schwartz, Ziya V. Dikman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


This study assessed the relationship of repressive coping and defensiveness to the perception of androstenone, which is a putative human pheromone with relevance to social perception. In Experiment 1, 34 men and 34 women between the ages of 16-28 sniffed pairs of bottles containing silicone (the solvent control) paired with either isoamyl acetate (IAA) or androstenone in an eight trial, two-alternative forced-choice task. Participants chose which hand they believed the odor was in, and rated the odor's intensity and their confidence in their response on a 0-10 scale. Defensiveness was measured with the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire (EPQ) L scale. As predicted, defensiveness was associated with decreased perception of androstenone, but not IAA. Decreased detection accuracies, confidence, and intensity ratings for androstenone were associated with high defensiveness. The effect was stronger among women. None of the IAA detection variables correlated with the L scale for either women or men. In Experiment 2, 22 women and 18 men between the ages of 18 and 27 were given 4 concentrations of IAA ranging from subthreshold to suprathreshold, and a blank-blank control. Detection accuracies, confidence ratings, and intensity ratings for IAA were not related to defensiveness for any of the concentrations, for either men or for women. The results are discussed in terms of motives to seek social approval and avoid social disapproval as they may relate to diminished awareness of androstenone.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)405-413
Number of pages9
JournalBiological Psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2007


  • Androstenone
  • Defensiveness
  • Eysenck personality questionnaire
  • Olfaction
  • Perception
  • Personality
  • Pheromones
  • Repressors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology


Dive into the research topics of 'Interpersonal defensiveness and diminished perceptual acuity for the odor of a putative pheromone: Androstenone'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this