Graduation Date

Fall 2022

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Psychology, option Academic Research

Committee Chair Name

Dr. Amanda Hahn

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Dr. Amber Gaffney

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Dr. Gregg Gold

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



The ability to recognize kin through the olfactory sense has important survival and evolutionary implications when choosing mates. Failing to recognize kin when making a choice of whom to mate with can lead to an increase in detrimental genetic outcomes in offspring. Previous studies have indicated that normally ovulating heterosexual women and men prefer the body odor of those with dissimilar immune systems than those with similar immune systems. The use of hormonal contraceptives has shown a preference for similar immune system odors. The current study examines whether the use of hormonal medications predicts preference for body odor. Importantly, this research consists to a diverse population, that goes beyond the heteronormative parameters of previous work and addition of hormonal medications other than just the combined oral contraceptive pill. Originally, this study was designed to take biological samples, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced a change to an online survey. In a sample of 282 participants, male, female and non-binary, there were no differential effects of hormonal medication use between sexes. These results suggest that any effect of hormonal medications would not depend on the sex of the person.

Citation Style