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Essay/Term paper: Pheromones

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Science Research Papers

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Do you often wonder what makes someone attracted to you or what makes
you attracted to that other person? Sometimes you can look at the person and
not even be attracted to their looks, but you feel compelled to talk to them or
just contact them in any form. These urges could be induced by a compound group
most commonly called "Pheromones."

Pheromones{fair'-uh-mohn} (from the Greek pher, "to carry" and horman
"to stimulate") are chemicals released by organisms into the environment, where
they serve as signals or messages to alter behavior in other organisms of the
same species. Pheromones are a class of compounds that insects and animals
produce to attract members of their own species. These compounds are secreted by
the body in very small amounts but are never-the-less effective in producing
instinctive behavior when detected by the nose. In insects and animals, most
sexual and social behavior is controlled by pheromones.

Humans have used perfumes for thousands of years, but there is a basic
difference between perfume and pheromones. Pheromones are produced by the body
and usually do not smell at all pleasant, whereas perfumes are either
synthesized or extracted from natural products and are employed because of their
pleasant smell.

Scientific research suggests that there are human pheromones for both
the male and the female. Females have a better developed sense of smell and
testing indicates that they are more responsive to male pheromones than the

Research over the years has found that the male pheromones belong to a
class of compounds called steroids, in particular derivatives of androstenone,
which are secreted by perspiration glands on our bodies.

The compound androstenone, and a related product androstenol, are the
most commonly used compounds for testing the effects of pheromones on humans.
The tests usually involve getting subjects to select preferred objects from a
group of objects some of which have been sprayed with pheromones. For example;
statistics are taken of the use of the chairs in a dental waiting room when one
of the chairs has been sprayed with pheromones. It is reported that females
favor the chair marked with a male pheromones whereas males tend to avoid the
chair. Usually the subjects report that they are not conscious of the smell of
the pheromones, the preference shown appears to be a subtle unconscious action
in most cases.

To the perfume industry, the pheromone compound frequently contains
androstenone dissolved in a solvent. Also included is a masculine-like cologne
that is attractive to women. Upon application the solvent will evaporate leaving
the residual perfume and the androstenone. The small amount of perfume is
designed to attract women consciously while the androstenone-pheromone works in
the background in the unconscious way of most pheromones. Next time you are
strangely attracted to a person of the opposite sex, you could think whether or
not they are consciously using a pheromone.


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