The Instigator
inonatipasna
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
Zarroette
Con (against)
Winning
23 Points

Who has a better sense of smell? MALE vs. FEMALE

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 4 votes the winner is...
Zarroette
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/18/2015 Category: Science
Updated: 2 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 945 times Debate No: 71959
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (6)
Votes (4)

 

inonatipasna

Pro

I need help. I want to have different opinions on whether male or females have a stronger sense of smell.
Zarroette

Con

Thank you, inonatipasna, for instigating this interesting debate on biological sex differences in smell between males and females.

Since male is the first position mentioned in the resolution is “male”, I will assume that Pro is affirming for males, and that I am affirming for females. Also, since this is a comparison debate, I will assume that the burden of proof is shared, in that we both must demonstrate our sides to have a “better sense of smell”.

A tl;dr summary of my whole argument can be found in the conclusion.


Premise: Definition of “better”

Since better was a term not defined by my opponent, I will assume that it is up for debate. The sense in which I will debate “better” is one in which assumes a purpose. In this case, the purpose will be higher sensitivity, meaning women have a greater ability to detect smells accurately.


Premise: Males and females have different senses of smell

Since both sides are arguing that either males or females have a better sense of smell, the given premise in this debate is that males and females have different sense of smell.


A1: Overall, females have higher sensitivity smelling

An example of women having higher sensitivity in smelling can be found in the work of Lehrner et al. (2000, [1]) who found that “ambient odor of orange…reduces anxiety and improves mood in female[s]”. The self-report research found that the sedative properties found in the essence of orange oil had an effect only on females. This test was conducted with 72 patients in all, with both males and females in the control group (group with no exposure to orange) and the variable group (group exposed to orange). As you can see, this relaxant effect is only experienced by females, hence indicating that females have higher sensitivity in their smelling than males.


In 1999, Yousem et al [3] concluded that “on standardized tests of odor identification and odor detection, women tend to score better than men at nearly all age groups”. Specifically, the tests which women performed better in were the UPSIT (University of Pennsylvania Smell Identification Test) and odor threshold tests. In short, this increased ability was detected via FMRI activation maps (imaging that detects changes in blood-flow) which showed that women far more frequently had activation when their nostrils were in the presence of a smell. So stark the differences in smelling ability that the researchers recommended “one must control for gender when performing odor-stimulated FMRI experiments”. NB: “the right frontal lobe is intimately associated with olfaction [(smell)]”.



Olofsson (2005, [6]) also found that “women are generally better than men at identifying odors”. In the first study examined by Olofsson, it was found that whilst the difference was small, “women showed significantly higher ability than men to identify odors from a list of four similar alternatives”. Cited as one of the reasons for this difference was ‘Chemosensory event-related potentials’ (CSERP), which was found in the second study. In English, the conclusion from this CSERP results was that women had more of a reaction to smells than men, as measured in brain activity (amplitude and latency). Outside of the studies performed in the research, analysis of previous studies (including Le Magnen and Koster and Koelega), there was meta-analysis which confirmed all notable research conducted on the biological sex differences in smell concluded that women (to varying degrees based on the study) had a better sense of smell than men.





Other research has concluded the same thing: “females have a better sense of smell” [4]. In this particular report, conducted via the ‘chi-squared test for homogeneity’, found that due to the small p-value calculated, with regards to the difference in the distributions of biological sex, there was a difference in the incidences of the correct responses both biological sexes gave to the smell-related questions. This means that there is a difference between the competency of female and male smell. There were two sample tests performed thereafter, which helped the researcher to determine that females have a higher mean of smell-ability than males.


A2: Females have higher sensitivity in smelling whilst sexual hormones are rampant

Le Magnen, as cited in Koster and Koelega (1976, [2]), found that adult women, when under the influence of “the female sex hormones”, were far more sensitive to pheromones than men. As was corroborated with the “older research”, women have varying olfactory (sensory system used for smell) sensitivity in accordance with their menstrual cycle (highest around ovulation; lowest during menstration). Specifically, these women were far more sensitive to “musk-like” smells, such as cyclo-pentadecanolide. Further cited in Koster and Koelega is their other work which showed that females tended to have a lower threshold for other smells too, of which included 11-oxahexedecanolide and androstenone. However, this difference was only found between women and men, not younger children. Le Magnen concluded, due to young children and adult men struggling to detect this fragrance, that it was oestrogen that would enhance the ability of women to smell, hence this being a clear demonstration of where females have more sensitive, thereby “better” smelling capabilities than males.

Another study also found that females have a heightened sense of smell during the period just before ovulation. Klebs (2003, [5]) found that the pheromones aid in smelling ability, so much so that women in relationships, who are not prowling for a mate, have lowered pheromone levels, and thus lower ability to smell. The ovulation cycle, as was found in Koster and Koelega, was also said to have an impact on women’s ability to smell, with the period “during or near ovulation” being the peak of smell.


Conclusion

To make it simple for voters, I will place my whole argument into a syllogism so that it is (1) easier to understand and (2) broken into easier to access parts. You are welcome =)

(Premise) Males and females have different senses of smell
(Premise) Better: higher sensitivity, meaning women have a greater ability to detect smells accurately
(Arguments 1 + 2) Overall, females have higher sensitivity smelling ability, especially whilst sexual hormones are rampant
(Conclusion) Therefore, females have a better sense of smell than men


References

[1] http://www.fnl-newcastle.com...
[2] http://journal.scconline.org...
[3] https://www.google.com.au...
[4] http://www.amstat.org...
[5] http://www.charis.wlc.edu...
[6] http://www.diva-portal.org...
Debate Round No. 1
inonatipasna

Pro

inonatipasna forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
inonatipasna

Pro

inonatipasna forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
inonatipasna

Pro

inonatipasna forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
6 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 6 records.
Posted by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
I learned something today.
Posted by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
@YoshiBoy13
That will never be an acceptable format to a vote. While your vote may be for every reason as another voter, it still must be your own words. My advice would be to if in doubt, just award conduct for cases of FF like this.
Posted by tejretics 2 years ago
tejretics
IKR, Zarroette won in Round 1. :D
Posted by Zarroette 2 years ago
Zarroette
Haha :)
Posted by Cya10000 2 years ago
Cya10000
Just Vote Zarroette already
Posted by The-Voice-of-Truth 2 years ago
The-Voice-of-Truth
@Zarroette, you have already won....
4 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Vote Placed by ResponsiblyIrresponsible 2 years ago
ResponsiblyIrresponsible
inonatipasnaZarroetteTied
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Total points awarded:04 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. This may in fact be the gold standard for what a snipe ought to be.....Wow. Who would have thought there was actual research behind this resolution?! Now, excuse me while I continue to do to the exact opposite.
Vote Placed by lannan13 2 years ago
lannan13
inonatipasnaZarroetteTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Forfeiture
Vote Placed by Ragnar 2 years ago
Ragnar
inonatipasnaZarroetteTied
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Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: FF, no contest toward arguments, and well sourced research.
Vote Placed by tejretics 2 years ago
tejretics
inonatipasnaZarroetteTied
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Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: FF. Con used the only sources. Pro's initial sentence framing was awkwardly incorrect.