Human Olfactory Communications

  • Michael J. Russell


It has been known for some time that most mammals use odors as a means of intraspecific communication (see Cheal and Sprott, 1971; Bronson, 1971; Doty, 1976; Shorey, 1976; Müller-Schwarze and Mozell, 1977, Mykytowycz, 1977; for reviews). However, until recently little attention has been paid to the possibility that humans might also use smell as a means of communication. This review examines the areas of olfactory communication that are known to be of significance in animals: individual recognition, scent marking, sexual identification, sexual attraction, and reproductive synchrony, and discusses the evidence for human olfactory communication in each of these areas. Suggestions are made for further research in this field.


Menstrual Cycle Sexual Attraction Scent Mark Sexual Identification Body Odor 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Russell
    • 1
  1. 1.Brain-Behavior Research CenterUniversity of CaliforniaEldridgeUSA

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