Science for Education Today, 2022, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 172–192

Human pheromones: An analysis of misconceptions, problems and study perspectives (review)

Khaustov S. A. 1 (Pushchino, Russian Federation), Dubynin V. A. 1 (Moscow, Russian Federation)
1 Lomonosov Moscow State University

Introduction. The article reviews a range of studies into human pheromones and a possible system of their reception called an additional olfactory system.
The purpose of the study is to summarize current scholarly literature into the problem of human pheromones, to conduct a comparative analysis of hypotheses and concepts in this area for use in medical and biological education, and attract the attention of young researchers to investigating this topic.
Materials and Methods. A critical analysis of scholarly publications on the problem under study was carried out focusing on the identification of primary sources, possible refutation or experimental data confirmation.
Results. The ambiguous and contradictory results of experimental studies are summarized, confirming, questioning or refuting the possibility of human pheromones and the sensory system of their perception existence, including the functionality of the vomeronasal organ (Jacobson's organ). Controversial experimental data on the impact of potential pheromones on the synchronization of ovulatory cycles, the development of sexuality, the formation of married couples, the tendency to homosexual behavior, the newborn's attachment to the mother, the impact on stress resistance and the level of attention in learning are analyzed.
Conclusions. The study concludes that the additional olfactory system lost its role in the course of evolution in the distant ancestors of human beings, and some of its functions are being gradually transited to other tissues of the body, including the main olfactory system. At the same time, the inconsistency of the experimental results makes the use of this topic in the educational process extremely interesting for the formation of students’ critical and research thinking, demonstrating non-linearity of the scientific knowledge path with the stable presence and replication of scientific misconceptions, and existence of significant prospects for setting new tasks and further research.


Vomeronasal organ; Jacobson’s organ; Human pheromones; Accessory olfactory system; Sexual behavior; Biological education; Medical education; Scientific fallacies.

For citation:
Khaustov S. A., Dubynin V. A. Human pheromones: An analysis of misconceptions, problems and study perspectives (review). Science for Education Today, 2022, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 172–192. DOI:
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Date of the publication 30.04.2022