Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 12th gradeA+, December 1996

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Do you often wonder what makes someone attracted to you or what makes you attracted to that other person? Sometimes you can look at the person and not even be attracted to their looks, but you feel compelled to talk to them or just contact them in any form. These urges could be induced by a compound group most commonly called 'Pheromones.'

Pheromones{fair'-uh-mohn} (from the Greek pher, 'to carry' and horman 'to stimulate') are chemicals released by organisms into the environment, where they serve as signals or messages to alter behavior in other organisms of the same species. Pheromones are a class of compounds that insects and animals produce to attract members of their own species. These compounds are secreted by the body in very small amounts but are never-the-less effective in producing instinctive behavior when detected by the nose. In insects and animals, most sexual and social behavior is controlled by pheromones.

Humans have used perfumes for thousands of years, but there is a basic difference between perfume and pheromones. Pheromones are produced by the body and usually do not smell at all pleasant, whereas perfumes are either synthesized or extracted from natural products and are employed because of their pleasant smell.

Scientific research suggests that there are human pheromones for both the male and the female. Females have a better developed sense of smell and testing indicates that they are more responsive to male pheromones than the reverse.

Research over the years has found that the male pheromones belong to a class of compounds called steroids, in particular derivatives of androstenone, which are secreted by perspiration glands on our bodies.

The compound androstenone, and a related product androstenol, are the most commonly used compounds for testing the effects of pheromones on humans. The tests usually involve...