Processing of Human Body Odors


Human chemosensory signals are able to transmit a wide range of social information to conspecifics. Resulting from the interaction of several genetic and physiological processes (e.g., metabolic, immune, nervous), each individual produces a unique odor signature. The central processing of such chemosignals by conspecifics modifies physiological, behavioral, and psychological responses. To illuminate the importance of this mode of communication, we describe how humans produce, decode, and respond to warning chemosignals. Behavioral evidence highlighting the cognitive and emotional consequences of body odor communication will be discussed. Special attention will be devoted to the current understanding of human body odor neural processing. After an overview on the topic, we discuss the role that social chemosignals may have in our everyday life in health and disease.

Springer Handbook of Odor
Valentina Parma
Valentina Parma
Research Assistant Professor in Psychology