Encyclopedia of Sexuality and Gender

Living Edition
| Editors: Amy D. Lykins

Pheromones and Social Chemo Signals

Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-59531-3_8-1

Introduction and Definitions

The term pheromone was introduced in 1959 by Karlson and Lüscher (1959), who described pheromones as “active substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction, for example, a definite behavior or a developmental process”(Karlson & Lüscher, 1959). It was later suggested to further narrow the definition to counter-ambiguities and a generalization in the use of the term pheromone: a signal must be useful for both sides, the transmitter and the receiver (Meredith, 2001). This condition is often difficult to fulfill, and this definition has not yet been adopted everywhere. The term pheromone is therefore elastic in its meaning. Pheromones are divided into different functional groups: primers, signalers, modulators, and releasers (Wysocki & Preti, 2004). The primers and signalers have the weakest effect and indicate, for instance, the presence of...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychotherapy and Psychosomatic Medicine, Medizinische Fakultät Carl Gustav CarusTechnische Universität Dresden, Dresden (TUD)DresdenGermany