A scent of romance: Human putative pheromone affects men's sexual cognition

Chen Oren, Leehe Peled-Avron, Simone G. Shamay-Tsoory

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Previous studies suggest that the putative human pheromone estratetraenol affects several systems underlying human functioning and appears to activate neural systems that are known to affect sexual behavior. In this study, we investigated whether exposure to estratetraenol affects men's social cognition abilities. In the first experiment, men performed the Interpersonal Perception task while being exposed to estratetraenol and to a control solution. Men performed the task with better accuracy while being exposed to estratetraenol. This improvement was evident especially in the Intimacy category where participants evaluated romantic relationships. In a second experiment, we exposed a different sample of men to estratetraenol and to a control solution while performing a task that implicitly measured their emotional reaction to photos depicting two humans either romantically touching or not, with a control condition of two inanimate objects either touching or not. We found that the participants' emotional reaction to touch was stronger under exposure to estratetraenol. Together, these results suggest that exposure to estratetraenol may trigger a change in men's social cognition, especially in sexually related situations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)719-726
Number of pages8
JournalSocial Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - 3 Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) 2019. Published by Oxford University Press.


  • affective touch
  • chemosignaling
  • estratetraenol
  • mating behavior
  • sexual cognition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience


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