London: Pheromones are just a figment of imagination, not the hidden key to attracting the opposite sex as popularly believed.
Richard Doty at the Penn State University`s School of Medicine in the US said mammals, unlike insects, don`t give off chemical signals for other mammals to pick up.
Doty says he does not believe that a single chemical emitted by one mammal can induce a behavioural change in another of the same species.
The idea that mysterious chemicals can cause sparks to fly between people who follow their noses even before their hearts has been around since the late 1950s, a newspaper reported.
Doty, who has written a book called "The Great Pheromone Myth", is dismissive of the entire concept, according to a Penn State statement.
"The pheromone term seems to have mainly attracted perfume manufacturers and people looking for the fountain of youth," he said.
"It`s just not the way things are. It would be like saying a particular colour is why we choose a mate. That`s just not how relationships are formed."
He added: "It`s an oversimplification of how chemicals work in the environment and how animals are affected by them."
"People have oversimplified the nature of the olfactory system. It`s the brain that interprets what meaning is. Conditioning plays a very significant role in all aspects of human and mammal behaviour."
Doty has spent countless hours throughout his career working to debunk myths surrounding pheromones. This book may be his crowning achievement, yet the concept seems to never dissipate.