Colloquially, pheromones describe a chemical that can attract someone. You may have seen pheromone-based perfumes that claim to make someone attracted to you. What is the truth?
The Pheromone Definition
Pheromones are chemicals produced by animals. These chemicals can change the same species’ behavior when exposed to them. While associated with sex, pheromones actually have other effects too.
Pheromones are ectohormones. With regular hormones, these are internal. Hormones affect you and only you. With ectohormones, they are secreted and can affect someone nearby.
Different species emphasize different levels of importance when it comes to pheromone communication. Insects, for instance, use mostly pheromones to talk. Meanwhile, humans are a lot more complex.
How Pheromones Affect Animals
With an animal, pheromones are used for quite a few reasons. Besides attraction, an animal may release pheromones to show off their territory or tell the other animals about food. They may use pheromones to repel others, and use it to raise an alarm should danger strike.
Pheromones have been a recent phenomenon in science. Bombykol was said to be the first one discovered, and it was discovered in 1959. This is a pheromone that comes from female moths and it’s used to attract male moths, and it can go a long way.
The reason why insect pheromones were the first discovered is because they are so simple. Insects communicate in simple manners. Many humans will use insect pheromones as a way to repel pests. Mammals, meanwhile, have more complex ways of communication.
Mammals experience pheromones thanks to the vomeronasal, or VNO. This is also known as Jacobson’s organ, and it has a connection to the brain, particularly the hypothalamus part.
For humans, there is a VNO in fetuses, but it goes away by birth. Currently, how humans respond to pheromones is a little unknown. They may use the olfactory system to do so.
Sold Pheromones - Do they Work?
Pheromones you can buy in stores are hotly debated when it comes to its validity. You can find many sellers promising pheromone-based love potions to make that person more attracted to you. Forget charisma or good looks; just spray a little bit of cologne on you, and your crush will fall head over heels for you.
Despite that, there doesn’t appear to be much scientific evidence backing it up. Some who swear by pheromones may be dealing with the placebo effect or confirmation bias. If you want to find love, improving your looks and social interaction is a better way to increase your chances. There is no magic love potion, nor should there be. However you can read about the reality of pheromones here.
These are a speculated human pheromone. It was first proposed by Gustav Jager from Germany. He believed that humans secreted these pheromones through their odors, and then combined with fats.
There may be some truth to the idea of pheromones that secrete through sweat. One study formed what was known as the McClintock Effect, named after researcher Martha McClintock She found a correlation between menstrual cycles and undetectable odors.
It worked by having women smell sweat that came from other women. When they did so, their menstrual cycles sped up or slowed. The speed seemed to depend on the time of ovulation. It was definitely an interesting phenomenon, but one that has been questioned, and it’s never been quite proven.
The Four Pheromone Types
There are said to be four types of pheromones. Let’s take a look at some of them right now.
First you have the releaser, which is what is released immediately. It often happens when some stimulus happens, and you’ve got a response.
Then there are primers. Primers can happen because of puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and other hormone-altering events. They can take a while for them to happen, and when they do, they may affect the hormones of others. In certain mammals, they are more powerful. Primer pheromones can make another mammal miscarry if a pregnant mammal is exposed to one.
You also have the signalers. We identify others by their face, voice, and other features. Meanwhile, animals may use signaler pheromones to identify their children and other animals. The pheromones a mother detects that helps identify their baby may not be used by a father in most cases. Signaler pheromones are overall quite intriguing in how animals communicate.
Finally, the modulator. A modulator pheromone can change around bodily functions. These pheromones are detected in sweat, and they can have relaxing properties and may affect menstrual cycles, as mentioned before.
Understanding these can help you build awareness of different aspects, and help understand how they connect to mental health.
The Reality of Pheromones
As mentioned before, artificial pheromones that claim to increase your attraction are bunk. Spraying cologne or perfume on you can make you smell good, but they aren’t going to magically attract someone to you.
No human pheromone has been identified for sure. Perhaps our ancestors used pheromones a long time ago, but now that we can communicate through verbal and nonverbal means, pheromones may lack any use and not be something we have.
You can use this information though to better understand yourself, and your interaction with others. With pheromones, there is a lot that can be offered here, and our articles will tell you about them, and the truth about pheromones.
It may help you better understand your mental health, and while they are a physical aspect, they do have mental stimulus at the bottom of it all, if you do look at it. While we as humans are not controlled completely by pheromones, you can learn in this a little more and understand why pheromones may matter to you as a person, and some of the other important tidbits that go into this, including why they matter, and how they can help you better understand yourself.
It isn’t necessarily a total aspect of mental health, but they are an important part of our bodies, so it’s cool to learn about, and you can do so by reading here.