Slate has a fantastic article about the science of scents and why ‘attraction-boosting’ human pheromone products are selling nothing but myths.
The article takes a curious look at the history of misapplied pheromone research and how it’s been used to sell everything from aftershave to soap.
“The whole pheromone thing got picked up by the mass media,” says Richard Doty, director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Smell and Taste Research Center and author of The Great Pheromone Myth. It feeds into our need to believe, he said, that there “is all this subliminal stuff going on that is affecting us—who we mate with, who we want to be with. It’s this mythical perspective.” And marketers, like women’s magazines, are only too happy to exploit that myth. That’s how a whole junk-science industry of pheromone-perfumes, pheromone-soaps, and pheromone-cosmetics managed to spring up from a strange menagerie of misconstrued mammal studies.
Personally, I’ve always believed in the power of the scent of raw man, which, I have discovered, is surprisingly under-appreciated.
Link to Slate article on the pheromone hype.