Human pheromones and sexual attraction

      Abstract

      Olfactory communication is very common amongst animals, and since the discovery of an accessory olfactory system in humans, possible human olfactory communication has gained considerable scientific interest. The importance of the human sense of smell has by far been underestimated in the past. Humans and other primates have been regarded as primarily ‘optical animals’ with highly developed powers of vision but a relatively undeveloped sense of smell. In recent years this assumption has undergone major revision. Several studies indicate that humans indeed seem to use olfactory communication and are even able to produce and perceive certain pheromones; recent studies have found that pheromones may play an important role in the behavioural and reproduction biology of humans. In this article we review the present evidence of the effect of human pheromones and discuss the role of olfactory cues in human sexual behaviour.

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