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/ The Influence of Pheromones on Human Attractiveness, Mood, and Behavior

The Influence of Pheromones on Human Attractiveness, Mood, and Behavior

Abstract Key Findings:

  • The human pheromone Androstadienone communicates information about male traits to women and to men with homosexual orientation.
  • The human pheromone Estratetraenol communicates information about female traits to men.
  • This action occurs without conscious involvement.
  • Human perception of gender is based on the subconscious reception of chemosensory biological stimuli.


Recent research suggests the existence of human sexual pheromones, with particular interest in two: Androstadienone (androsta-4,16,-dien-3-one) and Estratetraenol (estra-1,3,5(10),16-tetraen-3-ol). The aim of this study is to attempt to elucidate the role of the aforementioned compounds as sexual pheromones by investigating whether the influence of these hormones on gender information perception differs between women and men. Using presentations composed of dynamic light points, depicting the walking style of individuals whose gender has been digitally modified from male to female [1, 2], we have demonstrated that inhalation exposure to Androstadienone causes heterosexual women, unlike men, to perceive the gait as more masculine. Conversely, inhalation exposure to Estratetraenol causes heterosexual men, unlike women, to perceive the presented gait as more feminine. The response of homosexual men is similar to that of heterosexual women, while the responses of bisexual and homosexual women lie between those characteristic of heterosexual men and women. These effects occur even though olfactory stimuli are not clearly distinguishable. These results provide direct evidence for the first time that both compounds convey opposing messages of varying efficacy in both sexes, depending on the sexual orientation of the individual being studied. Furthermore, these results indicate that visual perception of gender characteristics by humans is based on the subconscious reception of chemosensory biological signals. This is a mechanism that has not been described before.

Animation presented to subjects:


Summary of the Study by

One of the most significant studies on human pheromones. This research demonstrates that individuals exposed to pheromones perceive the opposite sex differently. Women exposed to male pheromones rate men’s attractiveness higher. Men exposed to female pheromones rate women’s attractiveness higher. A man using pheromones is seen as more MASCULINE, while a woman using pheromones is seen as more FEMININE. Moreover, it has been observed that physical attractiveness (perceived visually) is influenced by the sense of smell. Therefore, whether a woman or a man we encounter on the street is appealing to us depends not only on their appearance but also on their pheromones.