MadSci Network: Evolution

Re: Can pheromones be partly control by our thoughts?

Date: Wed Feb 6 21:18:08 2002
Posted By: Jeffrey Utz, M.D., Neuroscience, pediatrics, Allegheny University
Area of science: Evolution
ID: 1011614047.Ev

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.

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