The Great Pheromone Myth

Overview

Mammalian pheromones, audiomones, visuomones, and snarks—Richard Doty argues that they all belong in the same category: objects of imagination.

For more than 50 years, researchers—including many prominent scientists—have identified pheromones as the triggers for a wide range of mammalian behaviors and endocrine responses. In this provocative book, renowned olfaction expert Richard L. Doty rejects this idea and states bluntly that, in contrast ...

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Overview

Mammalian pheromones, audiomones, visuomones, and snarks—Richard Doty argues that they all belong in the same category: objects of imagination.

For more than 50 years, researchers—including many prominent scientists—have identified pheromones as the triggers for a wide range of mammalian behaviors and endocrine responses. In this provocative book, renowned olfaction expert Richard L. Doty rejects this idea and states bluntly that, in contrast to insects, mammals do not have pheromones.

Doty systematically debunks the claims and conclusions of studies that purport to reveal the existence of mammalian pheromones. He demonstrates that there is no generally accepted scientific definition of what constitutes a mammalian pheromone and that attempts to divide stimuli and complex behaviors into pheromonal and nonpheromonal categories have primarily failed. Doty's controversial assertion belies a continued fascination with the pheromone concept, numerous claims of its chemical isolation, and what he sees as the wasted expenditure of hundreds of millions of dollars by industry and government.

The Great Pheromone Myth directly challenges ideas about the role chemicals play in mammalian behavior and reproductive processes. It is a must-have reference for biologists, psychologists, neuroscientists, and readers interested in animal behavior, ecology, and evolution.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Quarterly Review of Biology - Ann Eileen Miller Baker

The research of advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers will be improved if these workers carefully read the author's critiques of experimental design and research protocols.

Midwest Book Review

More than a survey of pheromones, this considers the entire perspective of chemical effects on behavior and is a pick for any college-level health collection.

PsycCRITIQUES

A very thorough review of the literature on presumed mammalian pheromones.

Choice

In this book, he brings together a wide-ranging and extensive literature to conclusively make his point. Along the way, he presents a fascinating tour of the diversity and complexity of chemical communication in mammals.

American Journal of Human Biology

If this book were just a critique of mammalian pheromones, it would be a valuable contribution. It, however, goes further showing us how the pheromone concept has blinded us to the complex and multimodal character of olfactory phenomena and perception.

Australian Science

Doty shakes up the field by challenging the sloppy research that some pheromone claims are based on.

Developmental Psychobiology

The Great Pheromone Myth is a lovely mural of important developmental questions and phenomena.The book is also an excellent guide to a field of inquiry, a conceptual framework, and an admirable product of scholarship. It offers much to professionals and advanced students in wide range of sensory, behavioral, ecological, physiological, and even clinical fields.

The Biologist

This is an important book as it challenges simplistic thinking by forensically and systematically dissecting studies that purport to adduce the evidence for mammalian pheromones... The Great Pheromone Myth will undoubtedly engender considerable debate, a debate that is long overdue.

ChemoSense

When you read this book you are very likely to experience a shift from frustration to enlightenment. Far from thwarting your path to knowledge, Doty will remove some much neglected clutter and smooth the way to new understanding.

Quarterly Review of Biology
The research of advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and researchers will be improved if these workers carefully read the author's critiques of experimental design and research protocols.

— Ann Eileen Miller Baker

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801893476
  • Publisher: Johns Hopkins University Press
  • Publication date: 1/27/2010
  • Pages: 296
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard L. Doty is a professor and director of the Smell and Taste Center at the University of Pennsylvania, inventor of the widely used UPSIT test for assessing smell function, and author or editor of over 350 scientific publications and books, including the Handbook of Olfaction and Gustation, Taste and Smell in Health and Disease, and, most recently, The Neurology of Olfaction, coauthored with Christopher Hawkes.

Johns Hopkins University Press

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Table of Contents

Preface ix

1 Introduction 1

2 What Is a Mammalian Pheromone? 5

3 Mammals Are Not Insects 32

4 Scent Marking 47

5 The Elusive Snarks Case Studies of Nonhuman Mammalian "Releasing" Pheromones 56

6 The Elusive Snarks Case Studies of Nonhuman Mammalian "Priming" Pheromones 98

7 Human Pheromones 125

8 Implications 185

Notes 197

References 207

Name Index 267

Subject Index 274

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