The link between attachment style and self-reported olfactory ability: a preliminary investigation

Amy Shell, Anna Blomkvist , Mehmet Mahmut

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    13 Downloads (Pure)


    Individuals in healthy romantic relationships gain significant benefits to their psychological wellbeing and physiological health. Notably, the majority of relationship research has focused on how adult attachment influences these relationship outcomes while the role of olfaction remains an emerging research focus. The aim of the current study was to bring together these seemingly unrelated factors–attachment and olfaction–in an online quasi-experimental design. The participants were 401 undergraduate students, predominantly females, ranging in age from 17 to 70 years. Participants completed a battery of questionnaires that evaluated their attachment tendencies, olfactory ability and experiences in romantic relationships. Results indicated that attachment insecurity, across both attachment anxiety and avoidance, was associated with decreased olfactory functioning for females. These findings provide preliminary evidence that olfaction is related to romantic relationship maintenance and suggests that body odors could be fundamental for evoking the attachment system. These findings also elicit enticing new avenues of research which can assist psychologists to provide targeted treatments to individuals with olfactory deficits and insecure attachment tendencies
    Original languageEnglish
    Article number1367
    Pages (from-to)1-12
    Number of pages12
    JournalBrain Sciences
    Issue number10
    Publication statusPublished - 18 Oct 2021

    Bibliographical note

    Copyright the Author(s) 2021. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


    • attachment
    • olfactory ability
    • olfaction
    • romantic relationships
    • body odors


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