The Nose Knows
Behavior in multicellular animals consists of directed activity in response to internal and external environmental signals. External signals are detected through a variety of sensory nervous inputs. One of the most important of these is smell, which affects behaviors from eating to mating. One of the more intriguing possibilities for how smell can affect behavior relates to pheromones, which govern social and mating interactions in many mammals. Whereas olfactory signals in what is normally thought of as smell are processed by the brain and translated into recognizable smells, pheromones are not consciously detectable. There is a good deal of evidence that humans also produce and sense pheromones — the chemical and neurological pathways involved are still being worked out.
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