Pooneh & Joana's update
Voulez-vous couchez avec moi?
A study of scent in co sleeping & an offer of comfort
Purpose of the Project:
To determine whether it is possible to achieve feelings of comfort and abandonment through sense of smell.
To send a gift of comfort to New York City.
Required items (for study):
Duration of Study:
This project explores the role of smell during co sleeping in determining happiness.
For those who seek amorous relationships, there are many joys to be had but we each vary in what brings us joy, maybe it’s the initial adventures, or the long, intimate conversations, maybe it’s the sex. For many, the simple, animal comfort of sharing a bed with someone you love is not at the top of the list. And how do we find mates? Besides looks and Tinder profiles, smell is increasingly thought to mediate who we make connections with. Research into the microbiome and genetics hint at the subtlety of this mechanism in finding suitable mates. Sense Dating already investigates the role of smell in dating directly, where women chose a partner based on the scent of their clothes.
It’s our thought that the comfortable togetherness of co sleeping is a key component of how relationships build feelings of happiness and connection - and that this bond goes beyond sexual relationships. Be it for economic reasons (beds and bedrooms are expensive), emotional or physical safety or just for warmth, humans tend to not sleep alone. We’re interested in bottling the scent of co sleeping and examining its role in feelings of happiness and connection. How comforting is it to sleep with another person? Does it matter who it is? Does it matter whether they have a compatible sexual orientation? Is it better to sleep with someone than sleeping alone?
This project will take on two expressions: one closer to science and the other closer to art.
1. The study
11 male and female participants will be recruited - one of whom will be the tester. 10 participants will sleep with a provided T-shirt for three nights and mail it in. These participants should not alter their daily routine - bathing and using deodorants as normal. Each T-shirt will be packed into a breathable sachets.
A tester participant will then place the small pillowcases on her pillow while she sleeps for three nights. The tester will record existing feelings and thoughts on subjects such as mood, emotion, memory, state of relaxation, performance level at work and etc before, during and after the experiment.
Why do we sleep with other people? How comforting is it to sleep with another person?
We need you to SLEEP! Looking for volunteer participants for a three-day art study to determine whether the sense of smell can affect work performance and mood.
Eligible participants will be asked to sleep with a new T-shirt for three nights and mail it in. A female subject will sleep with a small pillow made from each T-shirt and record how the experience affects (or not) her mood and quality of sleep.
(To be posted on Facebook.)
2) The gift
New York City is a city of strangers and encounters, of Tinder dates and flash mobs, in a time of increased tension and division. Joana will prepare a set of scent pillows to be placed around the city. These pillows intend to bring comfort to anyone who choses to pick them up and take them home to sleep.
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Pooneh Heshmati is an award-winning cognitive neuroscientist, physician, and post doctoral researcher at Northwell Health in New York.
Joana Ricou is an award-winning NYC-based artist, and creative director of Regenerative Medicine Partnership for Life.