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Putative sex-specific human pheromones do not affect gender perception, attractiveness ratings or unfaithfulness judgements of opposite sex faces

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Debate continues over the existence of human sex pheromones. Two substances, androstadienone (AND) and estratetraenol (EST), were recently reported to signal male and female gender, respectively, potentially qualifying them as human sex pheromones. If AND and EST truly signal gender, then they should affect reproductively relevant behaviours such as mate perception. To test this hypothesis, heterosexual, Caucasian human participants completed two computer-based tasks twice, on two consecutive days, exposed to a control scent on one day and a putative pheromone (AND or EST) on the other. In the first task, 46 participants (24 male, 22 female) indicated the gender (male or female) of five gender-neutral facial morphs. Exposure to AND or EST had no effect on gender perception. In the second task, 94 participants (43 male, 51 female) rated photographs of opposite-sex faces for attractiveness and probable sexual unfaithfulness. Exposure to the putative pheromones had no effect on either attractiveness or unfaithfulness ratings. These results are consistent with those of other experimental studies and reviews that suggest AND and EST are unlikely to be human pheromones. The double-blind nature of the current study lends increased support to this conclusion. If human sex pheromones affect our judgements of gender, attractiveness or unfaithfulness from faces, they are unlikely to be AND or EST.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus

Difference scores generated in the unfaithfulness rating task from 94 participants exposed to one of two putative human pheromones, AND and EST. Differences calculated by subtracting control from treatment ratings. Thick lines indicate medians, boxes indicate interquartile ranges, whiskers indicate minima and maxima, solid points indicate means and open points indicate outliers. A positive difference score would indicate participants found faces more likely to be unfaithful in the treatment setting than in the control setting.
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RSOS160831F4: Difference scores generated in the unfaithfulness rating task from 94 participants exposed to one of two putative human pheromones, AND and EST. Differences calculated by subtracting control from treatment ratings. Thick lines indicate medians, boxes indicate interquartile ranges, whiskers indicate minima and maxima, solid points indicate means and open points indicate outliers. A positive difference score would indicate participants found faces more likely to be unfaithful in the treatment setting than in the control setting.

Mentions: Difference scores were taken for each participant by subtracting the average control unfaithfulness rating from the average treatment unfaithfulness rating. Again, a deviation from zero would indicate an effect of the putative pheromones. Our prediction that AND and EST affect judgements of unfaithfulness would be supported in the case that participants exposed to mismatching-gender of face and pheromone stimuli recorded positive difference scores (i.e. more unlikely to be unfaithful in a relationship). Three between-participants factors were used: pheromone, order and participant sex, with an interaction between pheromone and sex. ANOVA indicated no significant effects of pheromone, sex or order on the difference scores recorded (figure 4 and table 3).Figure 4.


Putative sex-specific human pheromones do not affect gender perception, attractiveness ratings or unfaithfulness judgements of opposite sex faces
Difference scores generated in the unfaithfulness rating task from 94 participants exposed to one of two putative human pheromones, AND and EST. Differences calculated by subtracting control from treatment ratings. Thick lines indicate medians, boxes indicate interquartile ranges, whiskers indicate minima and maxima, solid points indicate means and open points indicate outliers. A positive difference score would indicate participants found faces more likely to be unfaithful in the treatment setting than in the control setting.
© Copyright Policy - open-access
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC5383829&req=5

RSOS160831F4: Difference scores generated in the unfaithfulness rating task from 94 participants exposed to one of two putative human pheromones, AND and EST. Differences calculated by subtracting control from treatment ratings. Thick lines indicate medians, boxes indicate interquartile ranges, whiskers indicate minima and maxima, solid points indicate means and open points indicate outliers. A positive difference score would indicate participants found faces more likely to be unfaithful in the treatment setting than in the control setting.
Mentions: Difference scores were taken for each participant by subtracting the average control unfaithfulness rating from the average treatment unfaithfulness rating. Again, a deviation from zero would indicate an effect of the putative pheromones. Our prediction that AND and EST affect judgements of unfaithfulness would be supported in the case that participants exposed to mismatching-gender of face and pheromone stimuli recorded positive difference scores (i.e. more unlikely to be unfaithful in a relationship). Three between-participants factors were used: pheromone, order and participant sex, with an interaction between pheromone and sex. ANOVA indicated no significant effects of pheromone, sex or order on the difference scores recorded (figure 4 and table 3).Figure 4.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

ABSTRACT

Debate continues over the existence of human sex pheromones. Two substances, androstadienone (AND) and estratetraenol (EST), were recently reported to signal male and female gender, respectively, potentially qualifying them as human sex pheromones. If AND and EST truly signal gender, then they should affect reproductively relevant behaviours such as mate perception. To test this hypothesis, heterosexual, Caucasian human participants completed two computer-based tasks twice, on two consecutive days, exposed to a control scent on one day and a putative pheromone (AND or EST) on the other. In the first task, 46 participants (24 male, 22 female) indicated the gender (male or female) of five gender-neutral facial morphs. Exposure to AND or EST had no effect on gender perception. In the second task, 94 participants (43 male, 51 female) rated photographs of opposite-sex faces for attractiveness and probable sexual unfaithfulness. Exposure to the putative pheromones had no effect on either attractiveness or unfaithfulness ratings. These results are consistent with those of other experimental studies and reviews that suggest AND and EST are unlikely to be human pheromones. The double-blind nature of the current study lends increased support to this conclusion. If human sex pheromones affect our judgements of gender, attractiveness or unfaithfulness from faces, they are unlikely to be AND or EST.

No MeSH data available.


Related in: MedlinePlus