The Knowing Nose: Chemical Signals Communicate Human Emotions

November 5, 2012 | James Kohl

Excerpts:  “Women were then exposed to the sweat samples while performing a visual search task. Their facial expressions were recorded and their eye movements were tracked as they completed the task.

As the researchers predicted, women who were exposed to chemosignals from “fear sweat” produced fearful facial expressions, while women who were exposed to chemosignals from “disgust sweat” produced disgusted facial expressions.”

“… the findings provide support for the embodied social-communication model, suggesting that chemosignals act as a medium through which people can be “emotionally synchronized” outside of conscious awareness.”


My comment: The article discusses the epigenetic effects of human pheromones, but refers to them as chemosignals, perhaps to differentiate their work from ours, which showed that women exhibit more flirtatious behaviors when exposed to a man who is wearing a mixture of androsterone and androstenol. They also reported they were more attracted to him when he was wearing the mixture.

Androstenol is known to elicit changes in luteinizing hormone and mood in women. Androsterone is probably an individual human male-specific indicator of reproductive fitness. The combination of chemicals in the mixture and the effects of the mixture on women’s behavior enables us to make the claim that the mixture is a mixture of human pheromones. The poster presentation of our results to the Society for Social Neuroscience is here: Human pheromones and nutrient chemicals: epigenetic effects on ecological, social, and neurogenic niches that affect behavior.





James Vaughn Kohl

James Vaughn Kohl

James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones.