The Human Knowledge of Pheromones (Atlantic)

nosePheromones. Those chemical “cocktails” emitted by members of a species that are sensed by the other members. We can’t see, smell or taste them. Yet chemist retailers are claiming that wearing them via cologne will make you irresistible to potential romantic partners.

How much of this claim is true? Very little, researchers say, unless you are trying to attract a partner of a different animal species. Though humans do emit and respond to pheromones, these chemical cues are less central to human interpersonal attraction than to tested animals such as pigs and rats. Rats in particular rely heavily on their olfactory system to explore the world. For humans, scent is a more subtle component (and experience can make even unpleasant scents smell like love over time). Read more about the science of pheromones from The Atlantic.

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