Chemical communication

Chemical communication is involved in social interactions in various contexts such as mate choice, mother-infant relationship and other kin relations. Each individual has specific odour signature originating from interaction between secretion of sebaceous, apocrine and eccrine glands and metabolic activity of skin microflora. Odour signature is influenced by ones genetic makeup and environmental factors such as diet, diseases or reproductive status. Our group studies how environmental (diet), contextual (affective states), genetic make-up (MHC) and cultural practices (perfumes) affect human body odour and its perception using perspectives of sexual selection, signalling theory and dual inheritance theory. We currently investigate the following topics:

  • The effect of affective states (e. g., in competitive context) on body odour quality and its influence on perception and cognition of individuals exposed to these odours
  • Factors affecting perfume choice and its interaction with body odour
  • Dietetic factors affecting human body odour
  • The role of olfaction in human mate choice
  • The relationship between immune system quality and body odour attractiveness
  • Attributions of personal characteristics based on body odour
  • The role of olfaction in lactation onset and bonding between mother and newborn

Jitka Fialová, Lucie Kuncová, Lenka Kysilková, Dagmar Schwambergová and Jan Havlíček work on these topics.