Do Women Have a Better Sense of Smell?

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Author: Megan Doyle, Ph.D.

Studies indicate that women may have a better sense of smell than men. This experiment will evaluate this premise and explore whether female participants are able to detect certain “types” of smells better than their male counterparts.


Does gender affect the ability to identify different smells?


  • Blindfold
  • Knife
  • Bowls
  • Apple
  • Orange
  • Banana
  • Lemon
  • Cinnamon
  • Brown sugar
  • Garlic
  • Onion
  • Jalapeño peppers
  • Any other “smells” you would like to test
  • Notebook for recording results


  1. Cut up fruit and vegetables.
  2. Place each item in a separate bowl.
  3. Blindfold a test subject and hold a bowl up to their nose.
  4. Ask the participant to identify what they smell.
  5. Record whether the test subject was correct or incorrect.
  6. Repeat for each item.
  7. Repeat entire experiment for many different male and female test subjects. All test subjects should be close in age to eliminate any influence age may have on sense of smell. Be sure no one has a cold!
  8. Evaluate your results. Are women better at identifying smells? Are women better at identifying certain types of smells?
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