With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, some of you might be tempted to employ some of those spray-on pheromone products. I won’t give names, but you must have seen the ads – they’re all over TV and the internet. Odorless pheromones are secreted by many animals to attract mates, and while synthesized versions have been shown to work for bees and other insects, the human nose and brain for that matter is a whole different thing.

Mammals of all sorts use olfactory signals to indicate willingness to copulate, define territory, mark their young, and signal aggressive intent. These processes can be seen in many animals used as models for human systems, including rats, monkeys (both Old World and New World), hamsters and mice. The fact that pheromones are important biological signals in a plethora of other species indicates that the possibility of human pheromones should not be discarded lightly. But this doesn’t mean those $100 bottles for 1/6  of an ounce actually work. Reactions is back this week with a great debunking on commercial pheromones. In short: no, these don’t work! Save your money for a nice dinner. You’ll have to impress your date the hard way.

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