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Sniff a sweaty T-shirt for the science of love

WOULD you smell a sweaty T-shirt, go on a blind date, or eat in a completely darkened room -- all in the name of love?

Volunteers are needed to join in a month long "love-lab" which will be launched at Valentine's weekend.

Far from finding an exciting, perfect mate, however, those taking part will be contributing to a detailed scientific experiment to find out what stimulates people's desires, what makes them tick and what doesn't.

The Science of Desire exhibition, complete with experiments, will open at the Science Gallery at the Academy Building on Pearse Street in Dublin on February 11 and run until March 12.

Psychologists, neuroscientists, genetics experts and immunologists will pour over the results of all the research and analyse reactions to reach a conclusion.

Anja Ekelot, of the gallery, says the love-lab is the second time people been used in this way for live experiments.

She said: "The last one was to find out how people pay attention and how they lose it. The love-lab is the next level. People are always interested in love. Throughout the whole month we will be running different experiments and we will be looking for people to take part.

"The blind date one will be along the lines of the Cilla Black programme but with a scientific slant. In other experiments people will work on computer screens making choices about faces they like."

On Valentine's night itself the Gallery will hold the Dining in the Dark special where participants can see nothing and have to use all their other senses. With the sweaty T-shirts, staff at the gallery will give out t-shirts to willing male participants on the opening day of the new exhibition and ask them to wear them for three or four days.

Then female volunteers will smell them and decide on the attractiveness or otherwise of the smell.