Communication by Chemical Signals: Physiological Mechanisms, Ontogeny and Learning, Function, Evolution, and Cognition


A chemical signal, such as a scent mark, is likely to provide unique and overlapping information about the sender, including its phenotype and genotype, which can be individually distinctive. Thus, the response to scent marks should be context-dependent, allowing receivers to adjust their responses accordingly, depending on the identity of the sender, past associations, and context. The response chosen will, in turn, be modulated by the receiver's neuroendocrine system and cognitive ability. The particular response should represent a balance of the costs and benefits associated with that choice and consider the fact that chemical signals provide inadvertent public information, reflecting the selective pressures placed on participants.

Publication Title

Hormones, Brain and Behavior: Third Edition