|MadSci Network: Evolution|
You ask a very intriguing question. Unfortunately, pheromones are not very well studies in humans. Humans use many different signals to send out information about social standing. For example, the jewelry, perfumes and clothing people wear, the way they stand, where they stand (for example, at the front), and the words they choose and how they say them are all signals about social standing. There is no reason why, in theory, pheromones cannot play an important role in communicating social standing. In fact, I would be surprised if that were not the case in other mammals. As the first article referenced below shows, pheromones play similar roles in mice. However, the role that pheromones play in humans is unclear. Often, in college dormatories, the females start having their menstral cycles at the same time, because pheromones released during various phases of the cycle cause the cycles to become more synchronous. Beyound this, as far as I know, the role of pheromones in humans is unclear. So in principle, psychological factors could cause different pheromones to be released, that affect other people. However, whether this is true in humans is, as of yet, unknown. Thanks for your excellent question. http://www.hhmi.org/news/dulac.html http://www.apa.org/monitor/jan98/phero.html
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