Do human menstrual-cycle pheromones exist?

@article{Schank2006DoHM,
  title={Do human menstrual-cycle pheromones exist?},
  author={Jeffrey C. Schank},
  journal={Human Nature},
  year={2006},
  volume={17},
  pages={448-470}
}
  • J. Schank
  • Published 1 December 2006
  • Biology
  • Human Nature
Research over the past 15 years indicates, contrary to earlier results, that women do not synchronize their menstrual cycles. If women do not synchronize their cycles, this implies there is no mechanism for synchronizing cycles. Since a pheromone mechanism of synchronization is the only plausible mechanism that has been proposed, it follows that that there are no pheromones that modulate the length of menstrual cycles. To test this hypothesis, eight studies were reviewed that reported pheromone… 

Do non-human primates synchronise their menstrual cycles? A test in mandrills

Demystifying Menstrual Synchrony: Women's Subjective Beliefs About Bleeding in Tandem With Other Women

Despite the empirical uncertainty about the existence of menstrual synchrony (i.e., the phenomenon where some women's menstrual cycles synchronize when they live in close proximity with one another),

A brief introduction to "human pheromones"

TLDR
The converging evidence from phylogeny, physiology, and behaviour that suggests that the human axilla may have some kind of communicative function, and that axillary secretions can influence social interactions is summarized.

Cycling Together: Menstrual Synchrony as a Projection of Gendered Solidarity

Though researchers have hotly debated the phenomenon of menstrual synchrony—women menstruating in tandem when living in close quarters with one another—no conclusive evidence has proven or disproven

Heteronormative pheromones? A feminist approach to human chemical communication

TLDR
This analysis of scientific articles on human pheromones from a critical feminist perspective, using new materialist feminist theories, in particular, the work of Judith Butler, Karen Barad and Annemarie Mol, argues that experiments on these two substances have been set up to combine sex-specificity, heterosexuality and reproduction.

Chemosignals, hormones and mammalian reproduction

Women Exposed to the Scents of Fertile-Phase and Luteal-Phase Women: Evaluative, Competitive, and Endocrine Responses

Men prefer the scents of fertile-phase women to the scents of luteal-phase women. Very little research, however, has examined women’s responses to other women’s scents. The current research did so by

Pheromones and Animal Behavior: Chemical Signals And Signatures

TLDR
This extensively revised and expanded book offers a thorough exploration of the evolutionary and behavioral contexts of chemical communication along with a detailed introduction to the molecular and neural basis of signal perception through olfaction.

An initial evaluation of the functions of human olfaction.

TLDR
This article presents an initial effort at identifying and categorizing these functions, using 3 sources of information as a guide: 1) losses experienced by anosmic participants; 2) olfactory function in other mammals; and 3) capacity, namely, whether the human Olfactory system can support the suggested function and whether there is evidence that it does.

Evolutionary psychology and perfume design

TLDR
Mammalian olfaction underpins the two arms of sexual selection — via the assessment of competitors and mates and subsequent modulation of social interactions, it regulates the processes of intrasexual competition and mate choice and can interfere with the physiology and behaviour of other individuals in particular ways.

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 48 REFERENCES

Women do not synchronize their menstrual cycles

TLDR
It is shown that cycle variability produces convergences and subsequent divergences of cycle onsets and may explain perceptions of synchrony.

Menstrual synchrony: Fact or artifact?

TLDR
Results of a study conducted over five consecutive months in Polish student dormitories provide further evidence that women do not synchronize their menstrual cycles.

Regulation of ovulation by human pheromones

TLDR
By showing in a fully controlled experiment that the timing of ovulation can be manipulated, this study provides definitive evidence of human pheromones.

Menstrual-cycle synchrony: problems and new directions for research.

  • J. Schank
  • Psychology
    Journal of comparative psychology
  • 2001
TLDR
The author analyzes their new methodology and presents 2 simulation studies that demonstrate how biases and errors can produce synchrony as an artifact and suggests that synchrony may be a biological state to be avoided and that cycle variability may facilitate female mate choice.

Female axillary secretions influence women's menstrual cycles: A critique

Pheromonal influences on sociosexual behavior in young women

Effects of breastfeeding chemosignals on the human menstrual cycle.

TLDR
Because compounds from lactating women and their infants modulated the ovarian cycles of women, as is seen in other mammals, they have the potential to function as pheromones, regulating fertility within groups of women.

Menstrual synchrony pheromones: cause for doubt.

TLDR
The recent finding of ‘definitive evidence of human pheromones’ and ‘confirmation’ of the mechanism underlying ‘menstrual synchrony’ is indeed spectacular, but it disregarded the methodological critiques and negative evidence that undermine the original report of McClintock (1971).

Menstrual-cycle variability and measurement: further cause for doubt

  • J. Schank
  • Psychology
    Psychoneuroendocrinology
  • 2000

Measurement and cycle variability: reexamining the case for ovarian-cycle synchrony in primates