The Great Pheromone Myth

The Great Pheromone Myth

Richard L. Doty

Language: English

Pages: 296

ISBN: 080189347X

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Mammalian pheromones, audiomones, visuomones, and snarks―Richard Doty argues that they all belong in the same category: objects of imagination.

For more than 50 years, researchers―including many prominent scientists―have identified pheromones as the triggers for a wide range of mammalian behaviors and endocrine responses. In this provocative book, renowned olfaction expert Richard L. Doty rejects this idea and states bluntly that, in contrast to insects, mammals do not have pheromones.

Doty systematically debunks the claims and conclusions of studies that purport to reveal the existence of mammalian pheromones. He demonstrates that there is no generally accepted scientific definition of what constitutes a mammalian pheromone and that attempts to divide stimuli and complex behaviors into pheromonal and nonpheromonal categories have primarily failed. Doty's controversial assertion belies a continued fascination with the pheromone concept, numerous claims of its chemical isolation, and what he sees as the wasted expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars by industry and government.

The Great Pheromone Myth directly challenges ideas about the role chemicals play in mammalian behavior and reproductive processes. It is a must-have reference for biologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and readers interested in animal behavior, ecology, and evolution.











Soul, 1649 I n this chapter the influences of learning will be shown to be particularly salient in responses to conspecific scent marks or depositions commonly said to contain pheromones, emphasizing the fact that invariant responses to chemical stimuli are not the norm in mammals. Scent marking is one of the most common socially related behaviors of mammals. As a sexually dimorphic trait, species-specific behaviors used in scent marking, such as the leg lift urination posture of the dog, depend

this region of the boar, implying that “odours emanating from the preputial sac might be acting as sex attractants to the female” (Booth, 1980, p. 291). Additional interest in a possible communicative role of salivary odors came from the observation that the boar, during sexual or agonistic encounters, “champs its jaws and drools a viscous, glycoprotein-rich frothy saliva which derives from its submaxillary salivary glands and which is quite unlike the more watery parotid/sublingual saliva

locating the nipple (Hudson and Distel, 1983). Such guidance is important, as a kit must find and attach to a nipple quickly to survive since, in natural settings, the mother is available for nursing only about 3 minutes each day (Coureaud et al., 2000). While at the time of the first suckling episode the nipple may be moistened with amniotic fluid, saliva is apparently not attractive (Hudson and Distel, 1983) and self-grooming does not seem to transfer an attractive agent to body areas distal to

place her dainty thighs beneath you, not even if you undermine her virtue with gifts of choice silk or the enticement of a pellucid gem. You are being hurt by an ugly rumour which asserts that beneath your armpits dwells a ferocious goat. This they fear, and no wonder; for it’s a right rank beast that no pretty girl will go to bed with. So either get rid of this painful affront to the nostrils or cease to wonder why the ladies flee. Gaius Valerius Catullus (87–54 BC) W hether humans have

watching a sexual film during the periovulatory phase of the cycle, a decrease in VAP was noted when female fragrance was present. Seventeen of the 28 subjects (60.7%) were able to identify the male fragrance category, and 21 (75%) the female fragrance category, implying awareness of the type of fragrance employed. No significant effects on ratings of moods, as such, were found. The authors indicated that “whether fragrances are arousing because of their association with past sexual activity, or

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