Whitney Gebhart, M.S.


Education: Bachelor of Arts in psychology (May 2003)

Master of Science in education from the University of Northern Colorado

McNair Project: Cross-Modal Evaluative Conditioning with Perfumes and Colognes as US's and Pictures as CS's (2002)

Mentor: Jerome Frieman, Ph.D.

This experiment used an evaluative conditioning procedure to examine whether positively-rated perfumes and colognes increase attractiveness ratings for neutral-rated photographs of faces. After each subject rated a series of perfumes and colognes and a series of photographs of faces, six pictures that were rated neutral and four odors rated as highly positive were selected. Then subjects were presented with contingent odor-picture pairs. Four combinations of odor-picture pairs were presented to each subject: For two of these combinations the gender of the odor and the gender of the person in the picture matched, and for two of these combinations the gender of the odor and the gender of the person did not match. Subjects were also presented with a picture of a male and a female not paired with an odor. Finally, the odors and pictures were rated again. The final attractiveness ratings for the people in the photographs did not shift in the direction of the odors, and no significant differences were found between the gender of subject or for the different odor-picture combinations. Subjects exhibited significant changes in ratings for the perfumes and colognes used in the experiment. The instability of the odor ratings most likely decreased the possibility that the ratings of the pictures would shift in the direction of the odor.