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Human pheromones – a myth or reality?

Nov 30th 2015 at 5:22 PM

Since the discovery of pheromones in animals, scientists are still in research and studies to conclusively identify a single such chemical in humans that can have an affect on other person. Pheromones in humans will improve your sex life, a common sales pitch goes. That's because of the body's secretions, some stinky and other below the threshold your nose can detect with chemical messages called pheromones. Although this is found in animals and insects, we have yet to find out the evidence of their existence in humans.

Pheromones – what are they?

Scientists have been aware of the fact that certain insects and animals can release chemical compounds – often as oils or sweat and that other creatures can detect and respond to these compounds, which allows for a form of silent, purely chemical communication. Pheromones are generally recognized as single or small sets of communicating compounds that transmit signals between organisms of the same species.

The trouble with humans

To establish that a human pheromone exists, we would need to demonstrate first, that the human body produces chemical secretions that have pheromonal properties and secondly, that we have the ability to detect these secretions when exposed to them and thirdly, that we respond to their presence in a consistent way (like for instance by feeling increased levels of sexual desire or passion)

As per the science, men and women do have odor-producing glands in their underarm, nipple and genital areas. But scientists have not yet identified the specific secretions that might serve as pheromones in our species. Bringing the evidence more solid, scientists have found that human infants, children and adults are able to discriminate between other individuals on the basis of olfactory cues – we can tell each other apart using our noses. This implies that we have the capacity to detect pheromones.

A signature scent

As the hunt for pheromones are still on-going, scientists have also investigated other potential explanations for the subtle effects of smells. Why this is said is because it has been found that human babies will crawl towards the odor of their mother's breast. Baby rabbits are known to begin nursing when exposed to a specific pheromone from a lactating mother rabbit. It can also be that human infants might simply be attracted to a mother's so called signature scent or the odor print. Odor prints are influenced by diet, environment, health and genetics.

Are pheromones in humans a myth or a reality?

At this point , it is difficult to either say a definite YES or a clear cut NO. This is really a confusing topic. With our highly developed intellect and rich complement of emotions, ambitions, desires and motivations, it may not be profitable to look at human pheromones the same way we look at animal pheromones. We are not machines that blindly fall into some stereotyped behaviour in response to an odor, but we may be machines that are attracted towards a type of behaviour by pheromones in concert with our high intellect. The way we conduct studies on animals, it's not possible to find out in humans, but the research goes on.

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