Ecological validity in the study of human pheromones

Tamsin K. Saxton, Anthony C. Little, S. Craig Roberts

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Several constituents of human axillary secretions have been proposed as candidate human pheromones, but their influence on human behaviour remains controversial. Here we briefly review the literature on the behavioural effects of candidate compounds, noting that inconsistencies in findings could be due in part to the variation in experimental context and potential lack of ecological validity. We also report results of a pilot study which attempts to overcome these limitations in an ecologically-valid experimental paradigm: a speed-dating event. We tested the effects of 4,16-androstadien-3-one within a single speed-dating evening with 25 female and 22 male participants. We found a significant effect of androstadienone on female judgments of male attractiveness, which is consistent with the proposal that androstadienone could act as a modulatory pheromone in humans.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationChemical signals in vertebrates 11
EditorsJane L. Hurst, Robert J. Beynon, S. Craig Roberts, Tristram D. Wyatt
Place of PublicationNew York
PublisherSpringer
Pages111-120
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9780387739458
ISBN (Print)9780387739441, 9781441925398
DOIs
StatePublished - 2008
EventChemical Signals in Vertebrates - Chester, United Kingdom

Conference

ConferenceChemical Signals in Vertebrates
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityChester
Period24/07/0627/07/06

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human being
effect
candidacy
speed
validity
social attraction
pilot study
paradigm
participant
behavior
influence exertion

Cite this

Saxton, T. K., Little, A. C., & Roberts, S. C. (2008). Ecological validity in the study of human pheromones. In J. L. Hurst, R. J. Beynon, S. C. Roberts, & T. D. Wyatt (Eds.), Chemical signals in vertebrates 11 (pp. 111-120). New York: Springer. DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-73945-8_10

Saxton, Tamsin K.; Little, Anthony C.; Roberts, S. Craig / Ecological validity in the study of human pheromones.

Chemical signals in vertebrates 11. ed. / Jane L. Hurst; Robert J. Beynon; S. Craig Roberts; Tristram D. Wyatt. New York : Springer, 2008. p. 111-120.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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Saxton, TK, Little, AC & Roberts, SC 2008, Ecological validity in the study of human pheromones. in JL Hurst, RJ Beynon, SC Roberts & TD Wyatt (eds), Chemical signals in vertebrates 11. Springer, New York, pp. 111-120, Chemical Signals in Vertebrates, Chester, United Kingdom, 24-27 July. DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-73945-8_10

Ecological validity in the study of human pheromones. / Saxton, Tamsin K.; Little, Anthony C.; Roberts, S. Craig.

Chemical signals in vertebrates 11. ed. / Jane L. Hurst; Robert J. Beynon; S. Craig Roberts; Tristram D. Wyatt. New York : Springer, 2008. p. 111-120.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

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AB - Several constituents of human axillary secretions have been proposed as candidate human pheromones, but their influence on human behaviour remains controversial. Here we briefly review the literature on the behavioural effects of candidate compounds, noting that inconsistencies in findings could be due in part to the variation in experimental context and potential lack of ecological validity. We also report results of a pilot study which attempts to overcome these limitations in an ecologically-valid experimental paradigm: a speed-dating event. We tested the effects of 4,16-androstadien-3-one within a single speed-dating evening with 25 female and 22 male participants. We found a significant effect of androstadienone on female judgments of male attractiveness, which is consistent with the proposal that androstadienone could act as a modulatory pheromone in humans.

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Saxton TK, Little AC, Roberts SC. Ecological validity in the study of human pheromones. In Hurst JL, Beynon RJ, Roberts SC, Wyatt TD, editors, Chemical signals in vertebrates 11. New York: Springer. 2008. p. 111-120. Available from, DOI: 10.1007/978-0-387-73945-8_10