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"pheromones in context"

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  • Maarten
    COVER STORY Pheromones, in context In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things are finally becoming clear. By ETIENNE BENSON Monitor
    Message 1 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
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      COVER STORY

      Pheromones, in context

      In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things are finally becoming clear.

      By ETIENNE BENSON

      Monitor Staff

      October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9

      Print version: page 46

      Purple smoke black background

      This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from gung-ho boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data fudging and sexism fly, and where the popular press is always watching from the sidelines, ready to trumpet each new claim and counterclaim to the world as soon as it is made.

      On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom have founded companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and pharmaceuticals. On the other side are skeptics who argue that the phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction in terms. Between the two extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are doubtful of the strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that humans, like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.

      Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with starting the human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago psychologist, then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a study showing that the menstrual periods of women who lived together tended to converge on the same time every month, an effect thought to be mediated by pheromones.

      Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle ground are finally making progress in understanding the effects of human pheromones. Many aspects of the field remain unclear--including the definition of the term "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page 48)--but at least one conclusion can be drawn from the research conducted so far: Their effects are far more dependent on social and psychological context than originally suspected.

      Stop lights and sweaty underarms

      When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s, data addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of another was nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were responsible, especially since one of the original definitions of the term described them as "ectohormones," substances that worked between individuals in much the same way that "endohormones," like testosterone and estrogen, worked within them.

      There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with underarm secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and Kathleen Stern, PhD, to show that fluids collected from a donor woman's underarms, when applied to the upper lip of a female recipient, could hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual period. The study fell short of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but even many skeptics agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of human pheromones.

      The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are known as "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in hormone levels, such as those that take place during the menstrual cycle, the onset of puberty or pregnancy. But researchers were also eager to find evidence for human "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones that in non-human animals can trigger stereotypical behavioral responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some were skeptical that any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could elicit stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.

      Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants like androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins," primate vaginal secretions that supposedly triggered male mating behavior. When further research showed that these substances had mixed or minimal effects in humans, however, excitement within the scientific community died down. But interest continued outside the scientific community, and some researchers founded companies to develop and market pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or sexual attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol, which are found in human sweat.

      "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex attractant to women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex attractant to men," explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims made by many commercial pheromone companies. "Then they backed off from the sex attraction and modulated it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes you feel more self-confident and open to social communication.'

      "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects on psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the simple picture that was originally portrayed."

      In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a medical resident at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were both sex- and context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved women's mood but had the opposite effect on men; in another experiment, they kept women's mood from deteriorating over the course of the testing session, but didn't improve it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if the substances were indeed pheromones, they were modulators, not releasers--substances that affect behavior by altering psychological state, not by triggering fixed responses.

      Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who founded companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the 1980s, were trying to show that the substances worked as advertised. In 1998, she reported that her male perfume additive significantly increased men's likelihood of having sex. Last spring, San Francisco State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD, reported similar results using Cutler's female perfume additive.

      In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under real-world conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that we've once and for all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's constituted, does have powers over the other sex," she says. "There is something that makes women attractive, and it can be very, very powerful."

      Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees. "There's no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are human pheromones," he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data, the additive appeared to work only because women who received the placebo and the "pheromone" started out with different levels of sexual activity, then regressed toward the mean--a statistical flaw disguised by the study's data analysis methods.

      McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological conditions are important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any claims that a particular product will increase the user's opportunities for sexual intercourse regardless of context are, in her opinion, misleading.

      "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control yourself from stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock. "Human behavior just isn't like that in any domain."

      A dead-end duct?

      The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly over, but at least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has emerged on some effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the biological details of how pheromones affect humans remain "a total mystery," according to Cornell University psychologist Robert Johnston, PhD, although a few tantalizing clues are beginning to emerge.

      In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain responded to androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell it, a result confirmed in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol affected men and women's brains differently: The former boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the latter increased hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences the pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to affect reproductive behavior.

      Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how the presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many animals, a pair of tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the vomeronasal organ (VNO) is responsible for detecting pheromones, but the evidence for a working human VNO is mixed at best. Because the main olfactory epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected, can also detect pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule out the possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major support for the pheromone boosters.

      In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University of Utah claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but that adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical responses in the VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of Savic's neuroimaging study and, if true, would provide for a pathway for pheromones to influence the brain. However, because the Utah group is also heavily invested in a pheromone-based pharmaceutical company, many researchers are skeptical of their results, especially since no one has yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to the human brain.

      "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've published, but then again, they haven't published everything they've done," says Michael Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at Florida State University, who recently reviewed the evidence for the human VNO. He concluded that the evidence remains equivocal, and that only further research--by other groups of researchers--will resolve the debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the psychiatry department at the University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway from VNO to brain remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one exists. "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found essentially the same results," he says.

      In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue, which is how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to one question tells you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ultimately the question of whether there is such a thing as a human pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to specific neural, behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some agreement about what a pheromone is in the first place.

      Future research

      Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to extend her work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock intends to study the influence of odors given off by breast-feeding women on the fertility of other women. Meredith, Johnston and others plan to continue studying the biological mechanisms by which chemical messages affect social behavior in rodents and other animals.

      How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open question. But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are sex attractants, as McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of social domains in which chemical messages could have an important effect, says McClintock.

      "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of offspring, in recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing family members," she says. "In thinking about what the normal function might be, we know from the animal work that we need to think broadly in social terms and that the same compound might serve differently in different contexts.

      "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how biology causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to do is say that that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really important is to realize that psychology and social interaction also regulate the biology."

    • james kohl
      Is there any model for adaptive evolution that either predicts or somehow seems to confirm the decade-old information Maarten seems willing to present as an
      Message 2 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
      • 0 Attachment
        Is there any model for adaptive evolution that either predicts or somehow seems to confirm the decade-old information Maarten seems willing to present as an established scientific fact that impugns my accurate representations about the epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal on human brain development and behavior in a series of published works and recent presentations? If not, why isn't he addresses the representation in my most recently published work, which is linked below.
         
        James V. Kohl
        Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
        Independent researcher
        Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.



        From: Maarten <m.aalberse@...>
        To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Fri, October 26, 2012 5:56:19 AM
        Subject: [evol-psych] "pheromones in context"

         

        COVER STORY

        Pheromones, in context

        In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things are finally becoming clear.

        By ETIENNE BENSON

        Monitor Staff

        October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9

        Print version: page 46

        Purple smoke black background

        This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from gung-ho boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data fudging and sexism fly, and where the popular press is always watching from the sidelines, ready to trumpet each new claim and counterclaim to the world as soon as it is made.

        On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom have founded companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and pharmaceuticals. On the other side are skeptics who argue that the phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction in terms. Between the two extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are doubtful of the strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that humans, like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.

        Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with starting the human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago psychologist, then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a study showing that the menstrual periods of women who lived together tended to converge on the same time every month, an effect thought to be mediated by pheromones.

        Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle ground are finally making progress in understanding the effects of human pheromones. Many aspects of the field remain unclear--including the definition of the term "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page 48)--but at least one conclusion can be drawn from the research conducted so far: Their effects are far more dependent on social and psychological context than originally suspected.

        Stop lights and sweaty underarms

        When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s, data addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of another was nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were responsible, especially since one of the original definitions of the term described them as "ectohormones," substances that worked between individuals in much the same way that "endohormones," like testosterone and estrogen, worked within them.

        There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with underarm secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and Kathleen Stern, PhD, to show that fluids collected from a donor woman's underarms, when applied to the upper lip of a female recipient, could hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual period. The study fell short of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but even many skeptics agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of human pheromones.

        The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are known as "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in hormone levels, such as those that take place during the menstrual cycle, the onset of puberty or pregnancy. But researchers were also eager to find evidence for human "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones that in non-human animals can trigger stereotypical behavioral responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some were skeptical that any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could elicit stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.

        Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants like androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins," primate vaginal secretions that supposedly triggered male mating behavior. When further research showed that these substances had mixed or minimal effects in humans, however, excitement within the scientific community died down. But interest continued outside the scientific community, and some researchers founded companies to develop and market pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or sexual attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol, which are found in human sweat.

        "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex attractant to women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex attractant to men," explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims made by many commercial pheromone companies. "Then they backed off from the sex attraction and modulated it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes you feel more self-confident and open to social communication.'

        "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects on psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the simple picture that was originally portrayed."

        In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a medical resident at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were both sex- and context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved women's mood but had the opposite effect on men; in another experiment, they kept women's mood from deteriorating over the course of the testing session, but didn't improve it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if the substances were indeed pheromones, they were modulators, not releasers--substances that affect behavior by altering psychological state, not by triggering fixed responses.

        Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who founded companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the 1980s, were trying to show that the substances worked as advertised. In 1998, she reported that her male perfume additive significantly increased men's likelihood of having sex. Last spring, San Francisco State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD, reported similar results using Cutler's female perfume additive.

        In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under real-world conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that we've once and for all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's constituted, does have powers over the other sex," she says. "There is something that makes women attractive, and it can be very, very powerful."

        Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees. "There's no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are human pheromones," he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data, the additive appeared to work only because women who received the placebo and the "pheromone" started out with different levels of sexual activity, then regressed toward the mean--a statistical flaw disguised by the study's data analysis methods.

        McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological conditions are important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any claims that a particular product will increase the user's opportunities for sexual intercourse regardless of context are, in her opinion, misleading.

        "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control yourself from stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock. "Human behavior just isn't like that in any domain."

        A dead-end duct?

        The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly over, but at least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has emerged on some effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the biological details of how pheromones affect humans remain "a total mystery," according to Cornell University psychologist Robert Johnston, PhD, although a few tantalizing clues are beginning to emerge.

        In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain responded to androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell it, a result confirmed in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol affected men and women's brains differently: The former boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the latter increased hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences the pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to affect reproductive behavior.

        Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how the presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many animals, a pair of tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the vomeronasal organ (VNO) is responsible for detecting pheromones, but the evidence for a working human VNO is mixed at best. Because the main olfactory epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected, can also detect pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule out the possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major support for the pheromone boosters.

        In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University of Utah claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but that adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical responses in the VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of Savic's neuroimaging study and, if true, would provide for a pathway for pheromones to influence the brain. However, because the Utah group is also heavily invested in a pheromone-based pharmaceutical company, many researchers are skeptical of their results, especially since no one has yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to the human brain.

        "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've published, but then again, they haven't published everything they've done," says Michael Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at Florida State University, who recently reviewed the evidence for the human VNO. He concluded that the evidence remains equivocal, and that only further research--by other groups of researchers--will resolve the debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the psychiatry department at the University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway from VNO to brain remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one exists. "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found essentially the same results," he says.

        In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue, which is how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to one question tells you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ultimately the question of whether there is such a thing as a human pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to specific neural, behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some agreement about what a pheromone is in the first place.

        Future research

        Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to extend her work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock intends to study the influence of odors given off by breast-feeding women on the fertility of other women. Meredith, Johnston and others plan to continue studying the biological mechanisms by which chemical messages affect social behavior in rodents and other animals.

        How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open question. But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are sex attractants, as McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of social domains in which chemical messages could have an important effect, says McClintock.

        "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of offspring, in recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing family members," she says. "In thinking about what the normal function might be, we know from the animal work that we need to think broadly in social terms and that the same compound might serve differently in different contexts.

        "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how biology causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to do is say that that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really important is to realize that psychology and social interaction also regulate the biology."

      • Edgar Owen
        Maarten, Hmmmm, wonder why Kohl, who claims he s one of the leading scientific researchers in this field wasn t interviewed for the article? ... Edgar
        Message 3 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
        • 0 Attachment
          Maarten,

          Hmmmm, wonder why Kohl, who claims he's one of the leading scientific researchers in this field wasn't interviewed for the article?
          :-)

          Edgar




          On Oct 26, 2012, at 5:49 AM, Maarten wrote:

           

          COVER STORY

          Pheromones, in context

          In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things are finally becoming clear.

          By ETIENNE BENSON

          Monitor Staff

          October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9

          Print version: page 46

          Purple smoke black background

          This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from gung-ho boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data fudging and sexism fly, and where the popular press is always watching from the sidelines, ready to trumpet each new claim and counterclaim to the world as soon as it is made.

          On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom have founded companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and pharmaceuticals. On the other side are skeptics who argue that the phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction in terms. Between the two extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are doubtful of the strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that humans, like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.

          Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with starting the human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago psychologist, then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a study showing that the menstrual periods of women who lived together tended to converge on the same time every month, an effect thought to be mediated by pheromones.

          Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle ground are finally making progress in understanding the effects of human pheromones. Many aspects of the field remain unclear--including the definition of the term "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page 48)--but at least one conclusion can be drawn from the research conducted so far: Their effects are far more dependent on social and psychological context than originally suspected.

          Stop lights and sweaty underarms

          When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s, data addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of another was nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were responsible, especially since one of the original definitions of the term described them as "ectohormones," substances that worked between individuals in much the same way that "endohormones," like testosterone and estrogen, worked within them.

          There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with underarm secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and Kathleen Stern, PhD, to show that fluids collected from a donor woman's underarms, when applied to the upper lip of a female recipient, could hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual period. The study fell short of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but even many skeptics agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of human pheromones.

          The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are known as "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in hormone levels, such as those that take place during the menstrual cycle, the onset of puberty or pregnancy. But researchers were also eager to find evidence for human "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones that in non-human animals can trigger stereotypical behavioral responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some were skeptical that any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could elicit stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.

          Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants like androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins," primate vaginal secretions that supposedly triggered male mating behavior. When further research showed that these substances had mixed or minimal effects in humans, however, excitement within the scientific community died down. But interest continued outside the scientific community, and some researchers founded companies to develop and market pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or sexual attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol, which are found in human sweat.

          "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex attractant to women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex attractant to men," explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims made by many commercial pheromone companies. "Then they backed off from the sex attraction and modulated it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes you feel more self-confident and open to social communication.'

          "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects on psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the simple picture that was originally portrayed."

          In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a medical resident at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were both sex- and context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved women's mood but had the opposite effect on men; in another experiment, they kept women's mood from deteriorating over the course of the testing session, but didn't improve it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if the substances were indeed pheromones, they were modulators, not releasers--substances that affect behavior by altering psychological state, not by triggering fixed responses.

          Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who founded companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the 1980s, were trying to show that the substances worked as advertised. In 1998, she reported that her male perfume additive significantly increased men's likelihood of having sex. Last spring, San Francisco State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD, reported similar results using Cutler's female perfume additive.

          In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under real-world conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that we've once and for all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's constituted, does have powers over the other sex," she says. "There is something that makes women attractive, and it can be very, very powerful."

          Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees. "There's no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are human pheromones," he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data, the additive appeared to work only because women who received the placebo and the "pheromone" started out with different levels of sexual activity, then regressed toward the mean--a statistical flaw disguised by the study's data analysis methods.

          McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological conditions are important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any claims that a particular product will increase the user's opportunities for sexual intercourse regardless of context are, in her opinion, misleading.

          "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control yourself from stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock. "Human behavior just isn't like that in any domain."

          A dead-end duct?

          The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly over, but at least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has emerged on some effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the biological details of how pheromones affect humans remain "a total mystery," according to Cornell University psychologist Robert Johnston, PhD, although a few tantalizing clues are beginning to emerge.

          In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain responded to androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell it, a result confirmed in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol affected men and women's brains differently: The former boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the latter increased hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences the pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to affect reproductive behavior.

          Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how the presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many animals, a pair of tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the vomeronasal organ (VNO) is responsible for detecting pheromones, but the evidence for a working human VNO is mixed at best. Because the main olfactory epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected, can also detect pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule out the possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major support for the pheromone boosters.

          In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University of Utah claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but that adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical responses in the VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of Savic's neuroimaging study and, if true, would provide for a pathway for pheromones to influence the brain. However, because the Utah group is also heavily invested in a pheromone-based pharmaceutical company, many researchers are skeptical of their results, especially since no one has yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to the human brain.

          "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've published, but then again, they haven't published everything they've done," says Michael Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at Florida State University, who recently reviewed the evidence for the human VNO. He concluded that the evidence remains equivocal, and that only further research--by other groups of researchers--will resolve the debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the psychiatry department at the University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway from VNO to brain remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one exists. "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found essentially the same results," he says.

          In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue, which is how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to one question tells you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ultimately the question of whether there is such a thing as a human pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to specific neural, behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some agreement about what a pheromone is in the first place.

          Future research

          Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to extend her work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock intends to study the influence of odors given off by breast-feeding women on the fertility of other women. Meredith, Johnston and others plan to continue studying the biological mechanisms by which chemical messages affect social behavior in rodents and other animals.

          How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open question. But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are sex attractants, as McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of social domains in which chemical messages could have an important effect, says McClintock.

          "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of offspring, in recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing family members," she says. "In thinking about what the normal function might be, we know from the animal work that we need to think broadly in social terms and that the same compound might serve differently in different contexts.

          "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how biology causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to do is say that that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really important is to realize that psychology and social interaction also regulate the biology."



        • Maarten
          What I appreciated about the article I posted is that it provides a rather balanced view on the topic.I was getting a bit fed-up with the antagonistic
          Message 4 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
          • 0 Attachment
            What I appreciated about the article I posted is that it provides a rather balanced view on the topic.
            I was getting a bit fed-up with the antagonistic exchanges (mine included) and was hoping that maybe this article could stimulate a more genuine exchange.

            As to Kohl's comment: I have written a bit (and could have written more)  both about some of the "sources" Kohl uses for his 2012 article and, maybe more importantly, that in this peerreviewed article he often uses much more tentative language ("can", "could", "may", "might") than he does on the forums.

            More tentative phrasings on subjects where there is, as far as I know, still no consensus, would be more than welcome...

            Maarten 


            --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, james kohl <jvkohl@...> wrote:
            >
            > Is there any model for adaptive evolution that either predicts or somehow seems
            > to confirm the decade-old information Maarten seems willing to present as an
            > established scientific fact that impugns my accurate representations about the
            > epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal on human brain development and
            > behavior in a series of published works and recent presentations? If not,
            > why isn't he addresses the representation in my most recently published work,
            > which is linked below.
            >  James V. Kohl
            > Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
            > Independent researcher
            > Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the
            > socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience &
            > Psychology, 2: 17338.
            >
            >
            >
            >
            >
            > ________________________________
            > From: Maarten m.aalberse@...
            > To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
            > Sent: Fri, October 26, 2012 5:56:19 AM
            > Subject: [evol-psych] "pheromones in context"
            >
            >  
            > COVER STORY
            > Pheromones, in context
            > In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things are finally
            > becoming clear.
            > By ETIENNE BENSON
            > Monitor Staff
            > October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9
            > Print version: page 46
            > This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from gung-ho
            > boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data fudging and sexism
            > fly, and where the popular press is always watching from the sidelines, ready to
            > trumpet each new claim and counterclaim to the world as soon as it is made.
            > On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom have founded
            > companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and pharmaceuticals. On the other
            > side are skeptics who argue that the phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction
            > in terms. Between the two extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are
            > doubtful of the strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that
            > humans, like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.
            > Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with starting the
            > human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago psychologist,
            > then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a study showing that the
            > menstrual periods of women who lived together tended to converge on the same
            > time every month, an effect thought to be mediated by pheromones.
            > Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle ground are
            > finally making progress in understanding the effects of human pheromones. Many
            > aspects of the field remain unclear--including the definition of the term
            > "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page 48)--but at least one conclusion can be
            > drawn from the research conducted so far: Their effects are far more dependent
            > on social and psychological context than originally suspected.
            > Stop lights and sweaty underarms
            > When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s, data
            > addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of another was
            > nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were responsible,
            > especially since one of the original definitions of the term described them as
            > "ectohormones," substances that worked between individuals in much the same way
            > that "endohormones," like testosterone and estrogen, worked within them.
            > There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with underarm
            > secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and Kathleen Stern, PhD, to
            > show that fluids collected from a donor woman's underarms, when applied to the
            > upper lip of a female recipient, could hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual
            > period. The study fell short of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but
            > even many skeptics agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of
            > human pheromones.
            > The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are known as
            > "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in hormone levels,
            > such as those that take place during the menstrual cycle, the onset of puberty
            > or pregnancy. But researchers were also eager to find evidence for human
            > "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones that in non-human animals can trigger
            > stereotypical behavioral responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some
            > were skeptical that any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could
            > elicit stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.
            > Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants like
            > androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins," primate vaginal
            > secretions that supposedly triggered male mating behavior. When further research
            > showed that these substances had mixed or minimal effects in humans, however,
            > excitement within the scientific community died down. But interest continued
            > outside the scientific community, and some researchers founded companies to
            > develop and market pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or
            > sexual attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention
            > were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol, which are
            > found in human sweat.
            > "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex attractant to
            > women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex attractant to men,"
            > explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims made by many commercial
            > pheromone companies. "Then they backed off from the sex attraction and modulated
            > it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes you feel more self-confident and open to
            > social communication.'
            > "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects on
            > psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the simple
            > picture that was originally portrayed."
            > In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a medical
            > resident at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported that
            > androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were both sex- and
            > context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved women's mood but
            > had the opposite effect on men; in another experiment, they kept women's mood
            > from deteriorating over the course of the testing session, but didn't improve
            > it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if the substances were indeed
            > pheromones, they were modulators, not releasers--substances that affect behavior
            > by altering psychological state, not by triggering fixed responses.
            > Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who founded
            > companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the 1980s, were trying
            > to show that the substances worked as advertised. In 1998, she reported that her
            > male perfume additive significantly increased men's likelihood of having sex.
            > Last spring, San Francisco State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD,
            > reported similar results using Cutler's female perfume additive.
            > In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under real-world
            > conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that we've once and for
            > all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's constituted, does have powers
            > over the other sex," she says. "There is something that makes women attractive,
            > and it can be very, very powerful."
            > Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees. "There's
            > no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are human pheromones,"
            > he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data, the additive appeared to
            > work only because women who received the placebo and the "pheromone" started out
            > with different levels of sexual activity, then regressed toward the mean--a
            > statistical flaw disguised by the study's data analysis methods.
            > McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological conditions are
            > important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any claims that a
            > particular product will increase the user's opportunities for sexual intercourse
            > regardless of context are, in her opinion, misleading.
            > "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control yourself from
            > stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock. "Human behavior just
            > isn't like that in any domain."
            > A dead-end duct?
            > The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly over, but at
            > least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has emerged on some
            > effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the biological details of how
            > pheromones affect humans remain "a total mystery," according to Cornell
            > University psychologist Robert Johnston, PhD, although a few tantalizing clues
            > are beginning to emerge.
            > In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University used
            > functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain responded to
            > androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell it, a result confirmed
            > in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka
            > Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported
            > that androstadienone and estratetraenol affected men and women's brains
            > differently: The former boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the
            > latter increased hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences
            > the pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to affect
            > reproductive behavior.
            > Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how the
            > presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many animals, a pair of
            > tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the vomeronasal organ (VNO) is responsible
            > for detecting pheromones, but the evidence for a working human VNO is mixed at
            > best. Because the main olfactory epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected,
            > can also detect pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule
            > out the possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major
            > support for the pheromone boosters.
            > In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University of Utah
            > claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but that
            > adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical responses in the
            > VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of Savic's neuroimaging study
            > and, if true, would provide for a pathway for pheromones to influence the brain.
            > However, because the Utah group is also heavily invested in a pheromone-based
            > pharmaceutical company, many researchers are skeptical of their results,
            > especially since no one has yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to
            > the human brain.
            > "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've published,
            > but then again, they haven't published everything they've done," says Michael
            > Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at Florida State University, who
            > recently reviewed the evidence for the human VNO. He concluded that the evidence
            > remains equivocal, and that only further research--by other groups of
            > researchers--will resolve the debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the
            > psychiatry department at the University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway
            > from VNO to brain remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one
            > exists. "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found
            > essentially the same results," he says.
            > In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue, which is
            > how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to one question tells
            > you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a professor of psychology at
            > the University of California, Berkeley. Ultimately the question of whether there
            > is such a thing as a human pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to
            > specific neural, behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some
            > agreement about what a pheromone is in the first place.
            > Future research
            > Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to extend her
            > work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock intends to study the
            > influence of odors given off by breast-feeding women on the fertility of other
            > women. Meredith, Johnston and others plan to continue studying the biological
            > mechanisms by which chemical messages affect social behavior in rodents and
            > other animals.
            > How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open question.
            > But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are sex attractants, as
            > McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of social domains in which
            > chemical messages could have an important effect, says McClintock.
            > "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of offspring, in
            > recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing family members," she
            > says. "In thinking about what the normal function might be, we know from the
            > animal work that we need to think broadly in social terms and that the same
            > compound might serve differently in different contexts.
            > "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how biology
            > causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to do is say that
            > that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really important is to realize
            > that psychology and social interaction also regulate the biology."
            >
          • james kohl
            The consensus was  reached on human pheromones several years ago at a time when molecular epigenetics became a topic for discussion even among olfactory
            Message 5 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
            • 0 Attachment
              The consensus was  reached on human pheromones several years ago at a time when molecular epigenetics became a topic for discussion even among olfactory researchers -- see for example works by Nobel Laureates in Physiology and Medicine 2004. Only among the relatively uninformed is there any question that pheromones control reproduction (and thus speciation) in species from microbes to man, largely because there is no other model for that. Maarten's claims to be offerring a balanced view can be met with dismissal if only for the fact that there is no other model. But also for the fact that he is offerring "dated" info rather than specifically addressing the content of the latest review article, which is what I published in March. Tentative language is often used to avoid red flags. The citations nevertheless support integration of the data into a model that has no equal and has no model for comparison.
               
              James V. Kohl
              Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
              Independent researcher
              Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.



              From: Maarten <m.aalberse@...>
              To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
              Sent: Fri, October 26, 2012 10:00:46 AM
              Subject: Re: [evol-psych] "pheromones in context"

               

              What I appreciated about the article I posted is that it provides a rather balanced view on the topic.
              I was getting a bit fed-up with the antagonistic exchanges (mine included) and was hoping that maybe this article could stimulate a more genuine exchange.

              As to Kohl's comment: I have written a bit (and could have written more)  both about some of the "sources" Kohl uses for his 2012 article and, maybe more importantly, that in this peerreviewed article he often uses much more tentative language ("can", "could", "may", "might") than he does on the forums.

              More tentative phrasings on subjects where there is, as far as I know, still no consensus, would be more than welcome...

              Maarten 


              --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, james kohl <jvkohl@...> wrote:
              >
              > Is there any model for adaptive evolution that either predicts or somehow seems
              > to confirm the decade-old information Maarten seems willing to present as an
              > established scientific fact that impugns my accurate representations about the
              > epigenetic effects of olfactory/pheromonal on human brain development and
              > behavior in a series of published works and recent presentations? If not,
              > why isn't he addresses the representation in my most recently published work,
              > which is linked below.
              >  James V. Kohl
              > Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
              > Independent researcher
              > Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the
              > socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience &
              > Psychology, 2: 17338.
              >
              >
              >
              >
              >
              > ________________________________
              > From: Maarten m.aalberse@...
              > To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
              > Sent: Fri, October 26, 2012 5:56:19 AM
              > Subject: [evol-psych] "pheromones in context"
              >
              >  
              > COVER STORY
              > Pheromones, in context
              > In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things are finally
              > becoming clear.
              > By ETIENNE BENSON
              > Monitor Staff
              > October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9
              > Print version: page 46
              > This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from gung-ho
              > boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data fudging and sexism
              > fly, and where the popular press is always watching from the sidelines, ready to
              > trumpet each new claim and counterclaim to the world as soon as it is made.
              > On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom have founded
              > companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and pharmaceuticals. On the other
              > side are skeptics who argue that the phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction
              > in terms. Between the two extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are
              > doubtful of the strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that
              > humans, like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.
              > Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with starting the
              > human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago psychologist,
              > then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a study showing that the
              > menstrual periods of women who lived together tended to converge on the same
              > time every month, an effect thought to be mediated by pheromones.
              > Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle ground are
              > finally making progress in understanding the effects of human pheromones. Many
              > aspects of the field remain unclear--including the definition of the term
              > "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page 48)--but at least one conclusion can be
              > drawn from the research conducted so far: Their effects are far more dependent
              > on social and psychological context than originally suspected.
              > Stop lights and sweaty underarms
              > When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s, data
              > addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of another was
              > nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were responsible,
              > especially since one of the original definitions of the term described them as
              > "ectohormones," substances that worked between individuals in much the same way
              > that "endohormones," like testosterone and estrogen, worked within them.
              > There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with underarm
              > secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and Kathleen Stern, PhD, to
              > show that fluids collected from a donor woman's underarms, when applied to the
              > upper lip of a female recipient, could hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual
              > period. The study fell short of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but
              > even many skeptics agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of
              > human pheromones.
              > The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are known as
              > "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in hormone levels,
              > such as those that take place during the menstrual cycle, the onset of puberty
              > or pregnancy. But researchers were also eager to find evidence for human
              > "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones that in non-human animals can trigger
              > stereotypical behavioral responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some
              > were skeptical that any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could
              > elicit stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.
              > Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants like
              > androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins," primate vaginal
              > secretions that supposedly triggered male mating behavior. When further research
              > showed that these substances had mixed or minimal effects in humans, however,
              > excitement within the scientific community died down. But interest continued
              > outside the scientific community, and some researchers founded companies to
              > develop and market pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or
              > sexual attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention
              > were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol, which are
              > found in human sweat.
              > "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex attractant to
              > women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex attractant to men,"
              > explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims made by many commercial
              > pheromone companies. "Then they backed off from the sex attraction and modulated
              > it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes you feel more self-confident and open to
              > social communication.'
              > "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects on
              > psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the simple
              > picture that was originally portrayed."
              > In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a medical
              > resident at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported that
              > androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were both sex- and
              > context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved women's mood but
              > had the opposite effect on men; in another experiment, they kept women's mood
              > from deteriorating over the course of the testing session, but didn't improve
              > it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if the substances were indeed
              > pheromones, they were modulators, not releasers--substances that affect behavior
              > by altering psychological state, not by triggering fixed responses.
              > Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who founded
              > companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the 1980s, were trying
              > to show that the substances worked as advertised. In 1998, she reported that her
              > male perfume additive significantly increased men's likelihood of having sex.
              > Last spring, San Francisco State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD,
              > reported similar results using Cutler's female perfume additive.
              > In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under real-world
              > conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that we've once and for
              > all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's constituted, does have powers
              > over the other sex," she says. "There is something that makes women attractive,
              > and it can be very, very powerful."
              > Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees. "There's
              > no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are human pheromones,"
              > he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data, the additive appeared to
              > work only because women who received the placebo and the "pheromone" started out
              > with different levels of sexual activity, then regressed toward the mean--a
              > statistical flaw disguised by the study's data analysis methods.
              > McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological conditions are
              > important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any claims that a
              > particular product will increase the user's opportunities for sexual intercourse
              > regardless of context are, in her opinion, misleading.
              > "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control yourself from
              > stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock. "Human behavior just
              > isn't like that in any domain."
              > A dead-end duct?
              > The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly over, but at
              > least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has emerged on some
              > effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the biological details of how
              > pheromones affect humans remain "a total mystery," according to Cornell
              > University psychologist Robert Johnston, PhD, although a few tantalizing clues
              > are beginning to emerge.
              > In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University used
              > functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain responded to
              > androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell it, a result confirmed
              > in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka
              > Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported
              > that androstadienone and estratetraenol affected men and women's brains
              > differently: The former boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the
              > latter increased hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences
              > the pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to affect
              > reproductive behavior.
              > Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how the
              > presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many animals, a pair of
              > tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the vomeronasal organ (VNO) is responsible
              > for detecting pheromones, but the evidence for a working human VNO is mixed at
              > best. Because the main olfactory epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected,
              > can also detect pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule
              > out the possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major
              > support for the pheromone boosters.
              > In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University of Utah
              > claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but that
              > adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical responses in the
              > VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of Savic's neuroimaging study
              > and, if true, would provide for a pathway for pheromones to influence the brain.
              > However, because the Utah group is also heavily invested in a pheromone-based
              > pharmaceutical company, many researchers are skeptical of their results,
              > especially since no one has yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to
              > the human brain.
              > "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've published,
              > but then again, they haven't published everything they've done," says Michael
              > Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at Florida State University, who
              > recently reviewed the evidence for the human VNO. He concluded that the evidence
              > remains equivocal, and that only further research--by other groups of
              > researchers--will resolve the debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the
              > psychiatry department at the University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway
              > from VNO to brain remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one
              > exists. "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found
              > essentially the same results," he says.
              > In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue, which is
              > how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to one question tells
              > you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a professor of psychology at
              > the University of California, Berkeley. Ultimately the question of whether there
              > is such a thing as a human pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to
              > specific neural, behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some
              > agreement about what a pheromone is in the first place.
              > Future research
              > Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to extend her
              > work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock intends to study the
              > influence of odors given off by breast-feeding women on the fertility of other
              > women. Meredith, Johnston and others plan to continue studying the biological
              > mechanisms by which chemical messages affect social behavior in rodents and
              > other animals.
              > How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open question.
              > But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are sex attractants, as
              > McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of social domains in which
              > chemical messages could have an important effect, says McClintock.
              > "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of offspring, in
              > recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing family members," she
              > says. "In thinking about what the normal function might be, we know from the
              > animal work that we need to think broadly in social terms and that the same
              > compound might serve differently in different contexts.
              > "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how biology
              > causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to do is say that
              > that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really important is to realize
              > that psychology and social interaction also regulate the biology."
              >
            • james kohl
              Arguably, I should be interviewed for them all, but most people realize that few are repeatedly selected for interviews that restate the common view because
              Message 6 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
              • 0 Attachment
                Arguably, I should be interviewed for them all, but most people realize that few are repeatedly selected for interviews that restate the common view because the common view can be elicited in sound bites from virtually anyone in the field. See this for comparison: http://greatreporter.com/content/little-known-nerve-may-be-secret-lust where I seem to be one of few people who was actually award of nerve zero at the time of the interview, and note that Michael Meredith (as in the article below) was also interviewed. He validated my model in the mid 90's with one exception (e.g., gene activation in GnRH neurosecretory neurons) that has since been demonstrated across vertebrate species.
                 
                James V. Kohl
                Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
                Independent researcher
                Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.



                From: Edgar Owen <edgarowen@...>
                To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
                Sent: Fri, October 26, 2012 10:00:37 AM
                Subject: Re: [evol-psych] "pheromones in context"

                 

                Maarten,


                Hmmmm, wonder why Kohl, who claims he's one of the leading scientific researchers in this field wasn't interviewed for the article?
                :-)

                Edgar




                On Oct 26, 2012, at 5:49 AM, Maarten wrote:

                 

                COVER STORY

                Pheromones, in context

                In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things are finally becoming clear.

                By ETIENNE BENSON

                Monitor Staff

                October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9

                Print version: page 46

                Purple smoke black background

                This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from gung-ho boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data fudging and sexism fly, and where the popular press is always watching from the sidelines, ready to trumpet each new claim and counterclaim to the world as soon as it is made.

                On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom have founded companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and pharmaceuticals. On the other side are skeptics who argue that the phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction in terms. Between the two extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are doubtful of the strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that humans, like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.

                Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with starting the human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago psychologist, then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a study showing that the menstrual periods of women who lived together tended to converge on the same time every month, an effect thought to be mediated by pheromones.

                Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle ground are finally making progress in understanding the effects of human pheromones. Many aspects of the field remain unclear--including the definition of the term "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page 48)--but at least one conclusion can be drawn from the research conducted so far: Their effects are far more dependent on social and psychological context than originally suspected.

                Stop lights and sweaty underarms

                When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s, data addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of another was nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were responsible, especially since one of the original definitions of the term described them as "ectohormones," substances that worked between individuals in much the same way that "endohormones," like testosterone and estrogen, worked within them.

                There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with underarm secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and Kathleen Stern, PhD, to show that fluids collected from a donor woman's underarms, when applied to the upper lip of a female recipient, could hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual period. The study fell short of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but even many skeptics agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of human pheromones.

                The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are known as "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in hormone levels, such as those that take place during the menstrual cycle, the onset of puberty or pregnancy. But researchers were also eager to find evidence for human "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones that in non-human animals can trigger stereotypical behavioral responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some were skeptical that any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could elicit stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.

                Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants like androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins," primate vaginal secretions that supposedly triggered male mating behavior. When further research showed that these substances had mixed or minimal effects in humans, however, excitement within the scientific community died down. But interest continued outside the scientific community, and some researchers founded companies to develop and market pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or sexual attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol, which are found in human sweat.

                "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex attractant to women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex attractant to men," explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims made by many commercial pheromone companies. "Then they backed off from the sex attraction and modulated it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes you feel more self-confident and open to social communication.'

                "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects on psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the simple picture that was originally portrayed."

                In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a medical resident at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were both sex- and context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved women's mood but had the opposite effect on men; in another experiment, they kept women's mood from deteriorating over the course of the testing session, but didn't improve it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if the substances were indeed pheromones, they were modulators, not releasers--substances that affect behavior by altering psychological state, not by triggering fixed responses.

                Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who founded companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the 1980s, were trying to show that the substances worked as advertised. In 1998, she reported that her male perfume additive significantly increased men's likelihood of having sex. Last spring, San Francisco State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD, reported similar results using Cutler's female perfume additive.

                In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under real-world conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that we've once and for all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's constituted, does have powers over the other sex," she says. "There is something that makes women attractive, and it can be very, very powerful."

                Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees. "There's no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are human pheromones," he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data, the additive appeared to work only because women who received the placebo and the "pheromone" started out with different levels of sexual activity, then regressed toward the mean--a statistical flaw disguised by the study's data analysis methods.

                McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological conditions are important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any claims that a particular product will increase the user's opportunities for sexual intercourse regardless of context are, in her opinion, misleading.

                "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control yourself from stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock. "Human behavior just isn't like that in any domain."

                A dead-end duct?

                The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly over, but at least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has emerged on some effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the biological details of how pheromones affect humans remain "a total mystery," according to Cornell University psychologist Robert Johnston, PhD, although a few tantalizing clues are beginning to emerge.

                In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain responded to androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell it, a result confirmed in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol affected men and women's brains differently: The former boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the latter increased hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences the pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to affect reproductive behavior.

                Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how the presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many animals, a pair of tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the vomeronasal organ (VNO) is responsible for detecting pheromones, but the evidence for a working human VNO is mixed at best. Because the main olfactory epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected, can also detect pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule out the possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major support for the pheromone boosters.

                In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University of Utah claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but that adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical responses in the VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of Savic's neuroimaging study and, if true, would provide for a pathway for pheromones to influence the brain. However, because the Utah group is also heavily invested in a pheromone-based pharmaceutical company, many researchers are skeptical of their results, especially since no one has yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to the human brain.

                "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've published, but then again, they haven't published everything they've done," says Michael Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at Florida State University, who recently reviewed the evidence for the human VNO. He concluded that the evidence remains equivocal, and that only further research--by other groups of researchers--will resolve the debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the psychiatry department at the University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway from VNO to brain remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one exists. "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found essentially the same results," he says.

                In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue, which is how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to one question tells you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ultimately the question of whether there is such a thing as a human pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to specific neural, behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some agreement about what a pheromone is in the first place.

                Future research

                Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to extend her work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock intends to study the influence of odors given off by breast-feeding women on the fertility of other women. Meredith, Johnston and others plan to continue studying the biological mechanisms by which chemical messages affect social behavior in rodents and other animals.

                How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open question. But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are sex attractants, as McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of social domains in which chemical messages could have an important effect, says McClintock.

                "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of offspring, in recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing family members," she says. "In thinking about what the normal function might be, we know from the animal work that we need to think broadly in social terms and that the same compound might serve differently in different contexts.

                "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how biology causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to do is say that that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really important is to realize that psychology and social interaction also regulate the biology."



              • hibbsa
                Good pheromone update. Something real is going on, and that real thing remains a mystery. So the takeaway for Jim is very positive. He could be onto
                Message 7 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
                • 0 Attachment
                  Good pheromone update. Something real is going on, and that real thing
                  remains a mystery. So the takeaway for Jim is very positive. He could
                  be onto something. Nothing has been said that refutes and much has been
                  said to add underpinning.


                  --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "Maarten"
                  <m.aalberse@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  > COVER STORY
                  > Pheromones, in context
                  > In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things
                  are
                  > finally becoming clear.
                  >
                  > By ETIENNE BENSON
                  >
                  > Monitor Staff
                  >
                  > October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9
                  >
                  > Print version: page 46
                  > [Purple smoke black background]
                  > This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from
                  > gung-ho boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data
                  > fudging and sexism fly, and where the popular press is always watching
                  > from the sidelines, ready to trumpet each new claim and counterclaim
                  to
                  > the world as soon as it is made.
                  >
                  > On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom
                  have
                  > founded companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and
                  > pharmaceuticals. On the other side are skeptics who argue that the
                  > phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction in terms. Between the two
                  > extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are doubtful of the
                  > strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that humans,
                  > like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.
                  >
                  > Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with
                  starting
                  > the human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago
                  > psychologist, then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a
                  > study showing that the menstrual periods of women who lived together
                  > tended to converge on the same time every month, an effect thought to
                  be
                  > mediated by pheromones.
                  >
                  > Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle
                  > ground are finally making progress in understanding the effects of
                  human
                  > pheromones. Many aspects of the field remain unclear--including the
                  > definition of the term "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page
                  48)--but
                  > at least one conclusion can be drawn from the research conducted so
                  far:
                  > Their effects are far more dependent on social and psychological
                  context
                  > than originally suspected.
                  >
                  > Stop lights and sweaty underarms
                  >
                  > When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s,
                  > data addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of
                  another
                  > was nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were
                  > responsible, especially since one of the original definitions of the
                  > term described them as "ectohormones," substances that worked between
                  > individuals in much the same way that "endohormones," like
                  testosterone
                  > and estrogen, worked within them.
                  >
                  > There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with
                  > underarm secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and
                  Kathleen
                  > Stern, PhD, to show that fluids collected from a donor woman's
                  > underarms, when applied to the upper lip of a female recipient, could
                  > hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual period. The study fell short
                  > of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but even many skeptics
                  > agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of human
                  > pheromones.
                  >
                  > The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are
                  > known as "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in
                  > hormone levels, such as those that take place during the menstrual
                  > cycle, the onset of puberty or pregnancy. But researchers were also
                  > eager to find evidence for human "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones
                  > that in non-human animals can trigger stereotypical behavioral
                  > responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some were skeptical
                  that
                  > any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could elicit
                  > stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.
                  >
                  > Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants
                  > like androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins,"
                  > primate vaginal secretions that supposedly triggered male mating
                  > behavior. When further research showed that these substances had mixed
                  > or minimal effects in humans, however, excitement within the
                  scientific
                  > community died down. But interest continued outside the scientific
                  > community, and some researchers founded companies to develop and
                  market
                  > pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or sexual
                  > attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention
                  > were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol,
                  > which are found in human sweat.
                  >
                  > "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex
                  > attractant to women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex
                  > attractant to men," explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims
                  > made by many commercial pheromone companies. "Then they backed off
                  from
                  > the sex attraction and modulated it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes
                  > you feel more self-confident and open to social communication.'
                  >
                  > "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects
                  on
                  > psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the
                  > simple picture that was originally portrayed."
                  >
                  > In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a
                  > medical resident at the University of California, Los Angeles,
                  reported
                  > that androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were
                  both
                  > sex- and context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved
                  > women's mood but had the opposite effect on men; in another
                  experiment,
                  > they kept women's mood from deteriorating over the course of the
                  testing
                  > session, but didn't improve it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if
                  > the substances were indeed pheromones, they were modulators, not
                  > releasers--substances that affect behavior by altering psychological
                  > state, not by triggering fixed responses.
                  >
                  > Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who
                  > founded companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the
                  > 1980s, were trying to show that the substances worked as advertised.
                  In
                  > 1998, she reported that her male perfume additive significantly
                  > increased men's likelihood of having sex. Last spring, San Francisco
                  > State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD, reported similar
                  results
                  > using Cutler's female perfume additive.
                  >
                  > In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under
                  > real-world conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that
                  > we've once and for all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's
                  > constituted, does have powers over the other sex," she says. "There is
                  > something that makes women attractive, and it can be very, very
                  > powerful."
                  >
                  > Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees.
                  > "There's no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are
                  > human pheromones," he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data,
                  > the additive appeared to work only because women who received the
                  > placebo and the "pheromone" started out with different levels of
                  sexual
                  > activity, then regressed toward the mean--a statistical flaw disguised
                  > by the study's data analysis methods.
                  >
                  > McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological
                  conditions
                  > are important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any
                  claims
                  > that a particular product will increase the user's opportunities for
                  > sexual intercourse regardless of context are, in her opinion,
                  > misleading.
                  >
                  > "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control
                  > yourself from stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock.
                  > "Human behavior just isn't like that in any domain."
                  >
                  > A dead-end duct?
                  >
                  > The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly
                  over,
                  > but at least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has
                  > emerged on some effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the
                  > biological details of how pheromones affect humans remain "a total
                  > mystery," according to Cornell University psychologist Robert
                  Johnston,
                  > PhD, although a few tantalizing clues are beginning to emerge.
                  >
                  > In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University
                  used
                  > functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain
                  > responded to androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell
                  it,
                  > a result confirmed in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their
                  > colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the
                  > Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that androstadienone and
                  > estratetraenol affected men and women's brains differently: The former
                  > boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the latter
                  increased
                  > hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences the
                  > pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to
                  > affect reproductive behavior.
                  >
                  > Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how
                  > the presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many
                  > animals, a pair of tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the
                  vomeronasal
                  > organ (VNO) is responsible for detecting pheromones, but the evidence
                  > for a working human VNO is mixed at best. Because the main olfactory
                  > epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected, can also detect
                  > pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule out
                  the
                  > possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major
                  > support for the pheromone boosters.
                  >
                  > In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University
                  > of Utah claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but
                  > that adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical
                  > responses in the VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of
                  > Savic's neuroimaging study and, if true, would provide for a pathway
                  for
                  > pheromones to influence the brain. However, because the Utah group is
                  > also heavily invested in a pheromone-based pharmaceutical company,
                  many
                  > researchers are skeptical of their results, especially since no one
                  has
                  > yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to the human brain.
                  >
                  > "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've
                  > published, but then again, they haven't published everything they've
                  > done," says Michael Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at
                  > Florida State University, who recently reviewed the evidence for the
                  > human VNO. He concluded that the evidence remains equivocal, and that
                  > only further research--by other groups of researchers--will resolve
                  the
                  > debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the psychiatry department at the
                  > University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway from VNO to brain
                  > remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one exists.
                  > "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found
                  > essentially the same results," he says.
                  >
                  > In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue,
                  > which is how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to
                  one
                  > question tells you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a
                  > professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
                  > Ultimately the question of whether there is such a thing as a human
                  > pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to specific neural,
                  > behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some agreement
                  > about what a pheromone is in the first place.
                  >
                  > Future research
                  >
                  > Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to
                  > extend her work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock
                  > intends to study the influence of odors given off by breast-feeding
                  > women on the fertility of other women. Meredith, Johnston and others
                  > plan to continue studying the biological mechanisms by which chemical
                  > messages affect social behavior in rodents and other animals.
                  >
                  > How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open
                  > question. But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are
                  sex
                  > attractants, as McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of
                  social
                  > domains in which chemical messages could have an important effect,
                  says
                  > McClintock.
                  >
                  > "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of
                  > offspring, in recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing
                  > family members," she says. "In thinking about what the normal function
                  > might be, we know from the animal work that we need to think broadly
                  in
                  > social terms and that the same compound might serve differently in
                  > different contexts.
                  >
                  > "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how
                  > biology causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to
                  do
                  > is say that that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really
                  > important is to realize that psychology and social interaction also
                  > regulate the biology."
                  >
                • james kohl
                  Could be onto something? Thanks. Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center was there when Linda presented our results in 2007 and when I
                  Message 8 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
                  • 0 Attachment
                    Could be onto something? Thanks.

                    Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center was there when Linda presented our results in 2007 and when I presented the replication in 2009. In fact, he was one of several colleagues who said we must include an odor mask control to validate the results we first presented. Linda did that on her own, against my advice -- even though Chuck Wysocki and I have become great friends during the past 15 years. Cutler, on the other hand, claims to be the co-discoverer (with Wysocki and Preti) of human pheromones, which they say they did not discover. And I claim to be the founder of Pheromones.com, which I discovered was readily available for purchase in 1996. It has, ever since, been a source of information about human pheromones that this group has ignored along with the entirety of my published works.
                     
                    James V. Kohl
                    Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
                    Independent researcher
                    Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.



                    From: hibbsa <hibbsa@...>
                    To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
                    Sent: Fri, October 26, 2012 7:20:15 PM
                    Subject: [evol-psych] Re: "pheromones in context"

                     


                    Good pheromone update. Something real is going on, and that real thing
                    remains a mystery. So the takeaway for Jim is very positive. He could
                    be onto something. Nothing has been said that refutes and much has been
                    said to add underpinning.

                    --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "Maarten"
                    <m.aalberse@...> wrote:

                    >
                    >
                    > COVER STORY
                    > Pheromones, in context
                    > In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things
                    are
                    > finally becoming clear.
                    >
                    > By ETIENNE BENSON
                    >
                    > Monitor Staff
                    >
                    > October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9
                    >
                    > Print version: page 46
                    > [Purple smoke black background]
                    > This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from
                    > gung-ho boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data
                    > fudging and sexism fly, and where the popular press is always watching
                    > from the sidelines, ready to trumpet each new claim and counterclaim
                    to
                    > the world as soon as it is made.
                    >
                    > On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom
                    have
                    > founded companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and
                    > pharmaceuticals. On the other side are skeptics who argue that the
                    > phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction in terms. Between the two
                    > extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are doubtful of the
                    > strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that humans,
                    > like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.
                    >
                    > Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with
                    starting
                    > the human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago
                    > psychologist, then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a
                    > study showing that the menstrual periods of women who lived together
                    > tended to converge on the same time every month, an effect thought to
                    be
                    > mediated by pheromones.
                    >
                    > Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle
                    > ground are finally making progress in understanding the effects of
                    human
                    > pheromones. Many aspects of the field remain unclear--including the
                    > definition of the term "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page
                    48)--but
                    > at least one conclusion can be drawn from the research conducted so
                    far:
                    > Their effects are far more dependent on social and psychological
                    context
                    > than originally suspected.
                    >
                    > Stop lights and sweaty underarms
                    >
                    > When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s,
                    > data addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of
                    another
                    > was nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were
                    > responsible, especially since one of the original definitions of the
                    > term described them as "ectohormones," substances that worked between
                    > individuals in much the same way that "endohormones," like
                    testosterone
                    > and estrogen, worked within them.
                    >
                    > There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with
                    > underarm secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and
                    Kathleen
                    > Stern, PhD, to show that fluids collected from a donor woman's
                    > underarms, when applied to the upper lip of a female recipient, could
                    > hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual period. The study fell short
                    > of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but even many skeptics
                    > agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of human
                    > pheromones.
                    >
                    > The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are
                    > known as "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in
                    > hormone levels, such as those that take place during the menstrual
                    > cycle, the onset of puberty or pregnancy. But researchers were also
                    > eager to find evidence for human "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones
                    > that in non-human animals can trigger stereotypical behavioral
                    > responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some were skeptical
                    that
                    > any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could elicit
                    > stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.
                    >
                    > Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants
                    > like androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins,"
                    > primate vaginal secretions that supposedly triggered male mating
                    > behavior. When further research showed that these substances had mixed
                    > or minimal effects in humans, however, excitement within the
                    scientific
                    > community died down. But interest continued outside the scientific
                    > community, and some researchers founded companies to develop and
                    market
                    > pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or sexual
                    > attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention
                    > were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol,
                    > which are found in human sweat.
                    >
                    > "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex
                    > attractant to women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex
                    > attractant to men," explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims
                    > made by many commercial pheromone companies. "Then they backed off
                    from
                    > the sex attraction and modulated it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes
                    > you feel more self-confident and open to social communication.'
                    >
                    > "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects
                    on
                    > psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the
                    > simple picture that was originally portrayed."
                    >
                    > In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a
                    > medical resident at the University of California, Los Angeles,
                    reported
                    > that androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were
                    both
                    > sex- and context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved
                    > women's mood but had the opposite effect on men; in another
                    experiment,
                    > they kept women's mood from deteriorating over the course of the
                    testing
                    > session, but didn't improve it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if
                    > the substances were indeed pheromones, they were modulators, not
                    > releasers--substances that affect behavior by altering psychological
                    > state, not by triggering fixed responses.
                    >
                    > Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who
                    > founded companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the
                    > 1980s, were trying to show that the substances worked as advertised.
                    In
                    > 1998, she reported that her male perfume additive significantly
                    > increased men's likelihood of having sex. Last spring, San Francisco
                    > State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD, reported similar
                    results
                    > using Cutler's female perfume additive.
                    >
                    > In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under
                    > real-world conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that
                    > we've once and for all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's
                    > constituted, does have powers over the other sex," she says. "There is
                    > something that makes women attractive, and it can be very, very
                    > powerful."
                    >
                    > Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees.
                    > "There's no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are
                    > human pheromones," he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data,
                    > the additive appeared to work only because women who received the
                    > placebo and the "pheromone" started out with different levels of
                    sexual
                    > activity, then regressed toward the mean--a statistical flaw disguised
                    > by the study's data analysis methods.
                    >
                    > McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological
                    conditions
                    > are important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any
                    claims
                    > that a particular product will increase the user's opportunities for
                    > sexual intercourse regardless of context are, in her opinion,
                    > misleading.
                    >
                    > "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control
                    > yourself from stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock.
                    > "Human behavior just isn't like that in any domain."
                    >
                    > A dead-end duct?
                    >
                    > The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly
                    over,
                    > but at least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has
                    > emerged on some effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the
                    > biological details of how pheromones affect humans remain "a total
                    > mystery," according to Cornell University psychologist Robert
                    Johnston,
                    > PhD, although a few tantalizing clues are beginning to emerge.
                    >
                    > In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University
                    used
                    > functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain
                    > responded to androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell
                    it,
                    > a result confirmed in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their
                    > colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the
                    > Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that androstadienone and
                    > estratetraenol affected men and women's brains differently: The former
                    > boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the latter
                    increased
                    > hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences the
                    > pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to
                    > affect reproductive behavior.
                    >
                    > Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how
                    > the presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many
                    > animals, a pair of tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the
                    vomeronasal
                    > organ (VNO) is responsible for detecting pheromones, but the evidence
                    > for a working human VNO is mixed at best. Because the main olfactory
                    > epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected, can also detect
                    > pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule out
                    the
                    > possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major
                    > support for the pheromone boosters.
                    >
                    > In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University
                    > of Utah claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but
                    > that adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical
                    > responses in the VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of
                    > Savic's neuroimaging study and, if true, would provide for a pathway
                    for
                    > pheromones to influence the brain. However, because the Utah group is
                    > also heavily invested in a pheromone-based pharmaceutical company,
                    many
                    > researchers are skeptical of their results, especially since no one
                    has
                    > yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to the human brain.
                    >
                    > "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've
                    > published, but then again, they haven't published everything they've
                    > done," says Michael Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at
                    > Florida State University, who recently reviewed the evidence for the
                    > human VNO. He concluded that the evidence remains equivocal, and that
                    > only further research--by other groups of researchers--will resolve
                    the
                    > debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the psychiatry department at the
                    > University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway from VNO to brain
                    > remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one exists.
                    > "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found
                    > essentially the same results," he says.
                    >
                    > In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue,
                    > which is how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to
                    one
                    > question tells you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a
                    > professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
                    > Ultimately the question of whether there is such a thing as a human
                    > pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to specific neural,
                    > behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some agreement
                    > about what a pheromone is in the first place.
                    >
                    > Future research
                    >
                    > Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to
                    > extend her work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock
                    > intends to study the influence of odors given off by breast-feeding
                    > women on the fertility of other women. Meredith, Johnston and others
                    > plan to continue studying the biological mechanisms by which chemical
                    > messages affect social behavior in rodents and other animals.
                    >
                    > How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open
                    > question. But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are
                    sex
                    > attractants, as McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of
                    social
                    > domains in which chemical messages could have an important effect,
                    says
                    > McClintock.
                    >
                    > "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of
                    > offspring, in recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing
                    > family members," she says. "In thinking about what the normal function
                    > might be, we know from the animal work that we need to think broadly
                    in
                    > social terms and that the same compound might serve differently in
                    > different contexts.
                    >
                    > "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how
                    > biology causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to
                    do
                    > is say that that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really
                    > important is to realize that psychology and social interaction also
                    > regulate the biology."
                    >

                  • james kohl
                    The notion that smell is important to the sexual drive of animals has long been established, but nerve zero may be the “missing link” that confirms that
                    Message 9 of 16 , Oct 26, 2012
                    • 0 Attachment
                      "The notion that smell is important to the sexual drive of animals has long been established, but nerve zero may be the “missing link” that confirms that human beings rely on pheromones, Fields says."

                      Added comment: Why do we require confirmation that human beings rely on pheromones, or that their epigenetic effects on adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic and socio-cognitive niche construction are precisely the same as the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals? There's no other model of adaptive evolution, is there? How many interviews does it take to convince others of biological facts (Edgar excepted; nothing can convince a fool of anything). 
                       
                      James V. Kohl
                      Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
                      Independent researcher
                      Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.



                      From: james kohl <jvkohl@...>
                      To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Fri, October 26, 2012 7:20:03 PM
                      Subject: Re: [evol-psych] "pheromones in context"

                       

                      Arguably, I should be interviewed for them all, but most people realize that few are repeatedly selected for interviews that restate the common view because the common view can be elicited in sound bites from virtually anyone in the field. See this for comparison: http://greatreporter.com/content/little-known-nerve-may-be-secret-lust where I seem to be one of few people who was actually award of nerve zero at the time of the interview, and note that Michael Meredith (as in the article below) was also interviewed. He validated my model in the mid 90's with one exception (e.g., gene activation in GnRH neurosecretory neurons) that has since been demonstrated across vertebrate species.
                       
                      James V. Kohl
                      Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
                      Independent researcher
                      Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.



                      From: Edgar Owen <edgarowen@...>
                      To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
                      Sent: Fri, October 26, 2012 10:00:37 AM
                      Subject: Re: [evol-psych] "pheromones in context"

                       

                      Maarten,


                      Hmmmm, wonder why Kohl, who claims he's one of the leading scientific researchers in this field wasn't interviewed for the article?
                      :-)

                      Edgar




                      On Oct 26, 2012, at 5:49 AM, Maarten wrote:

                       

                      COVER STORY

                      Pheromones, in context

                      In a field plagued by murky results and marketing hype, a few things are finally becoming clear.

                      By ETIENNE BENSON

                      Monitor Staff

                      October 2002, Vol 33, No. 9

                      Print version: page 46

                      Purple smoke black background

                      This is a field of research where the opinions of experts range from gung-ho boosterism to outright skepticism, where accusations of data fudging and sexism fly, and where the popular press is always watching from the sidelines, ready to trumpet each new claim and counterclaim to the world as soon as it is made.

                      On one side of the debate are the pheromone boosters, some of whom have founded companies that sell pheromone-based perfumes and pharmaceuticals. On the other side are skeptics who argue that the phrase "human pheromone" is a contradiction in terms. Between the two extremes lies a middle ground of researchers who are doubtful of the strongest claims but unwilling to ignore the possibility that humans, like many other animals, use chemicals to communicate.

                      Among them is Martha McClintock, PhD, who can be credited with starting the human pheromone phenomenon. In 1971, the University of Chicago psychologist, then an undergraduate at Wellesley College, published a study showing that the menstrual periods of women who lived together tended to converge on the same time every month, an effect thought to be mediated by pheromones.

                      Now, more than 30 years later, McClintock and others in the middle ground are finally making progress in understanding the effects of human pheromones. Many aspects of the field remain unclear--including the definition of the term "pheromone" itself (see sidebar on page 48)--but at least one conclusion can be drawn from the research conducted so far: Their effects are far more dependent on social and psychological context than originally suspected.

                      Stop lights and sweaty underarms

                      When McClintock first began studying menstrual synchrony in the 1970s, data addressing how one woman could affect the hormonal cycle of another was nonexistent. But it seemed plausible that pheromones were responsible, especially since one of the original definitions of the term described them as "ectohormones," substances that worked between individuals in much the same way that "endohormones," like testosterone and estrogen, worked within them.

                      There were hints that the pheromones in question were associated with underarm secretions, but it took until 1998 for McClintock and Kathleen Stern, PhD, to show that fluids collected from a donor woman's underarms, when applied to the upper lip of a female recipient, could hasten or delay the recipient's menstrual period. The study fell short of identifying the exact chemicals responsible, but even many skeptics agree that it provides strong evidence for the existence of human pheromones.

                      The pheromones thought to be responsible for menstrual synchrony are known as "primers"--substances that can influence long-term changes in hormone levels, such as those that take place during the menstrual cycle, the onset of puberty or pregnancy. But researchers were also eager to find evidence for human "releasers"--quick-acting pheromones that in non-human animals can trigger stereotypical behavioral responses, such as sexual intercourse. Although some were skeptical that any stimulus--auditory, visual, tactile or chemical--could elicit stereotyped behaviors in humans, others were more optimistic.

                      Those researchers focused their attention on so-called sex attractants like androstenone, a substance found in boar saliva, and "copulins," primate vaginal secretions that supposedly triggered male mating behavior. When further research showed that these substances had mixed or minimal effects in humans, however, excitement within the scientific community died down. But interest continued outside the scientific community, and some researchers founded companies to develop and market pheromone-based products intended to boost self-confidence or sexual attractiveness. Two of the substances that received the most attention were the hormone-like chemicals androstadienone and estratetraenol, which are found in human sweat.

                      "The idea was that men produce androstadienone and that's a sex attractant to women, and women produce estratetraenol and that's a sex attractant to men," explains McClintock, who is critical of the claims made by many commercial pheromone companies. "Then they backed off from the sex attraction and modulated it more, to say, 'Well, it just makes you feel more self-confident and open to social communication.'

                      "We have found that these compounds do have very interesting effects on psychological state and brain function," she adds, "but it's not the simple picture that was originally portrayed."

                      In 2000, McClintock and then-graduate student Suma Jacob, PhD, now a medical resident at the University of California, Los Angeles, reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol's effects on behavior were both sex- and context-dependent. In one experiment, the chemicals improved women's mood but had the opposite effect on men; in another experiment, they kept women's mood from deteriorating over the course of the testing session, but didn't improve it. McClintock and Jacob concluded that if the substances were indeed pheromones, they were modulators, not releasers--substances that affect behavior by altering psychological state, not by triggering fixed responses.

                      Meanwhile, researchers like Winnifred Cutler, PhD, one of those who founded companies to market pheromone-based perfume additives in the 1980s, were trying to show that the substances worked as advertised. In 1998, she reported that her male perfume additive significantly increased men's likelihood of having sex. Last spring, San Francisco State University psychologist Norma McCoy, PhD, reported similar results using Cutler's female perfume additive.

                      In McCoy's view, their studies show that the pheromones work under real-world conditions, regardless of laboratory results. "I think that we've once and for all demonstrated that this pheromone, however it's constituted, does have powers over the other sex," she says. "There is something that makes women attractive, and it can be very, very powerful."

                      Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, disagrees. "There's no good evidence in the biomedical literature that these are human pheromones," he says. According to his analysis of McCoy's data, the additive appeared to work only because women who received the placebo and the "pheromone" started out with different levels of sexual activity, then regressed toward the mean--a statistical flaw disguised by the study's data analysis methods.

                      McClintock, too, remains skeptical. Social and psychological conditions are important mediators of pheromonal effects, she says, and any claims that a particular product will increase the user's opportunities for sexual intercourse regardless of context are, in her opinion, misleading.

                      "It's like saying that if you see a red light, you cannot control yourself from stopping no matter the circumstance," says McClintock. "Human behavior just isn't like that in any domain."

                      A dead-end duct?

                      The debate over whether pheromones affect human behavior is hardly over, but at least enough evidence has been collected that a consensus has emerged on some effects, such as menstrual synchrony. In contrast, the biological details of how pheromones affect humans remain "a total mystery," according to Cornell University psychologist Robert Johnston, PhD, although a few tantalizing clues are beginning to emerge.

                      In 1999, Noam Sobel, PhD, and his colleagues at Stanford University used functional magnetic resonance imaging to show that the human brain responded to androstadienone even when subjects were unable to smell it, a result confirmed in a later study by Jacob, McClintock and their colleagues. In 2001, Ivanka Savic, PhD, and her colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden reported that androstadienone and estratetraenol affected men and women's brains differently: The former boosted hypothalamic activity only in women, while the latter increased hypothalamic activity only in men. The hypothalamus influences the pituitary gland's release of hormones, so it is in a key position to affect reproductive behavior.

                      Despite these suggestive neuroimaging results, it remains unclear how the presence of pheromones is communicated to the brain. In many animals, a pair of tiny ducts in the nasal septum called the vomeronasal organ (VNO) is responsible for detecting pheromones, but the evidence for a working human VNO is mixed at best. Because the main olfactory epithelium, where ordinary smells are detected, can also detect pheromones in some animals, the absence of a VNO would not rule out the possibility of human pheromones. But its presence would be a major support for the pheromone boosters.

                      In a series of experiments in the 1990s, researchers at the University of Utah claimed to have shown not only that the human VNO existed, but that adrostadienone and estratetraenol elicited different electrical responses in the VNOs of men and women. The result parallels that of Savic's neuroimaging study and, if true, would provide for a pathway for pheromones to influence the brain. However, because the Utah group is also heavily invested in a pheromone-based pharmaceutical company, many researchers are skeptical of their results, especially since no one has yet discovered a functional nerve linking the VNO to the human brain.

                      "I don't see any serious scientific flaws in the experiments they've published, but then again, they haven't published everything they've done," says Michael Meredith, PhD, a professor of neuroscience at Florida State University, who recently reviewed the evidence for the human VNO. He concluded that the evidence remains equivocal, and that only further research--by other groups of researchers--will resolve the debate. Bernard Grosser, MD, chair of the psychiatry department at the University of Utah, acknowledges that a pathway from VNO to brain remains to be found, but he says he is confident that one exists. "Anyone who has gone in and duplicated the work we've done has found essentially the same results," he says.

                      In some ways, the VNO question is a distraction from the main issue, which is how pheromones affect human behavior. Knowing the answer to one question tells you very little about the other, says Sobel, now a professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ultimately the question of whether there is such a thing as a human pheromone will depend on tying specific chemicals to specific neural, behavioral or psychological responses--and on coming to some agreement about what a pheromone is in the first place.

                      Future research

                      Future studies may settle some of these controversies. McCoy hopes to extend her work on sex pheromones to postmenopausal women. McClintock intends to study the influence of odors given off by breast-feeding women on the fertility of other women. Meredith, Johnston and others plan to continue studying the biological mechanisms by which chemical messages affect social behavior in rodents and other animals.

                      How important these substances are in everyday life remains an open question. But whether or not one believes that human pheromones are sex attractants, as McCoy and Cutler do, there are still a number of social domains in which chemical messages could have an important effect, says McClintock.

                      "In animals, [pheromones] are involved very strongly in care of offspring, in recognizing members of your social group, in recognizing family members," she says. "In thinking about what the normal function might be, we know from the animal work that we need to think broadly in social terms and that the same compound might serve differently in different contexts.

                      "The field of physiological or biopsychology typically looks at how biology causes changes in behavior," she adds. "What we're trying to do is say that that's a very reductionist approach, and what is really important is to realize that psychology and social interaction also regulate the biology."



                    • hibbsa
                      Jim No problem. I don t personally think you have the right idea for the big evolutionary mechanism, but science isn t about me being proven right. Keep
                      Message 10 of 16 , Oct 28, 2012
                      • 0 Attachment
                        Jim No problem. I don't personally think you have the right idea for
                        the 'big' evolutionary mechanism, but science isn't about me being
                        proven right. Keep going...also you're apparently one of the only people
                        here with an original idea all his own. Rgds, Sonny


                        --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, james kohl <jvkohl@...>
                        wrote:
                        >
                        > Could be onto something? Thanks.
                        >
                        > Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center was there
                        when Linda
                        > presented our results in 2007 and when I presented the replication in
                        2009. In
                        > fact, he was one of several colleagues who said we must include an
                        odor mask
                        > control to validate the results we first presented. Linda did that on
                        her own,
                        > against my advice -- even though Chuck Wysocki and I have become great
                        friends
                        > during the past 15 years. Cutler, on the other hand, claims to be the
                        > co-discoverer (with Wysocki and Preti) of human pheromones, which they
                        say they
                        > did not discover. And I claim to be the founder of Pheromones.com,
                        which I
                        > discovered was readily available for purchase in 1996. It has, ever
                        since, been
                        > a source of information about human pheromones that this group has
                        ignored along
                        > with the entirety of my published works.
                        >
                        >
                        > James V. Kohl
                        > Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
                        > Independent researcher
                        > Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic
                        influences on the
                        > socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective
                        Neuroscience &
                        > Psychology, 2: 17338.
                        >
                        >
                        <snip>
                      • james kohl
                        Thanks hibbsa. I just posted comments and links to several articles that collectively show I have the right idea for the big evolutionary mechanism, as of
                        Message 11 of 16 , Oct 28, 2012
                        • 0 Attachment
                          Thanks hibbsa. I just posted comments and links to several articles that collectively show I have the right idea for the big evolutionary mechanism, as of course I must since it must be a molecular mechanism. Clearly, there's no other model for that (besides mine, which integrates the epigenetic effects of nutrient chemicals and pheromones on adaptive evolution via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction).

                          I could probably post another 10-12 articles each week that attest to the accurate representations in my model, and might do so, if anyone ever challenges anything I've said in what I've already published. Instead, what we see here is a "Kohl is wrong" approach when Kohl knows he is right and can support his model with new literature from different disciplines each week at a time when many others simply cling to their evolutionary theories with hope that if they are nasty enough I will simply go away.
                           
                          James V. Kohl
                          Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
                          Independent researcher
                          Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338.



                          From: hibbsa <hibbsa@...>
                          To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
                          Sent: Sun, October 28, 2012 6:41:01 PM
                          Subject: [evol-psych] Re: "pheromones in context"

                           

                          Jim No problem. I don't personally think you have the right idea for
                          the 'big' evolutionary mechanism, but science isn't about me being
                          proven right. Keep going...also you're apparently one of the only people
                          here with an original idea all his own. Rgds, Sonny

                          --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, james kohl <jvkohl@...>
                          wrote:

                          >
                          > Could be onto something? Thanks.
                          >
                          > Charles Wysocki, PhD, of the Monell Chemical Senses Center was there
                          when Linda
                          > presented our results in 2007 and when I presented the replication in
                          2009. In
                          > fact, he was one of several colleagues who said we must include an
                          odor mask
                          > control to validate the results we first presented. Linda did that on
                          her own,
                          > against my advice -- even though Chuck Wysocki and I have become great
                          friends
                          > during the past 15 years. Cutler, on the other hand, claims to be the
                          > co-discoverer (with Wysocki and Preti) of human pheromones, which they
                          say they
                          > did not discover. And I claim to be the founder of Pheromones.com,
                          which I
                          > discovered was readily available for purchase in 1996. It has, ever
                          since, been
                          > a source of information about human pheromones that this group has
                          ignored along
                          > with the entirety of my published works.
                          >
                          >
                          > James V. Kohl
                          > Medical laboratory scientist (ASCP)
                          > Independent researcher
                          > Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic
                          influences on the
                          > socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective
                          Neuroscience &
                          > Psychology, 2: 17338.
                          >
                          >
                          <snip>

                        • clarence_sonny_williams
                          Brad, I would appreciate it if you stopped adding, Rgds, Sonny to the end of your posts. That makes it sound as if you are quoting me, and I will ask Robert
                          Message 12 of 16 , Oct 29, 2012
                          • 0 Attachment
                            Brad,

                            I would appreciate it if you stopped adding, "Rgds, Sonny" to the end of
                            your posts. That makes it sound as if you are quoting me, and I will
                            ask Robert to ban you from the group (I can at least ask) if you do not
                            stop.

                            You can add all the cute insults about me that you care to, but this
                            form of insult (or whatever you intend) is inappropriate.

                            Incidentally, science is not about proof.

                            --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "hibbsa" <hibbsa@...>
                            wrote:
                            >
                            > Jim No problem. I don't personally think you have the right idea for
                            > the 'big' evolutionary mechanism, but science isn't about me being
                            > proven right. Keep going...also you're apparently one of the only
                            people
                            > here with an original idea all his own. Rgds, Sonny
                            >
                            >
                            <snip>
                          • hibbsa
                            Brad, It is you who wants to play silly buggers with names. If you ask Robert to ban me then don t forget to ask him to ban you as well, for addressing me as
                            Message 13 of 16 , Oct 29, 2012
                            • 0 Attachment
                              Brad,
                              It is you who wants to play silly buggers with names. If you ask Robert to ban me then don't forget to ask him to ban you as well, for addressing me as Brad,
                              Rgds, Sonny

                              --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "clarence_sonny_williams" <clarencew@...> wrote:
                              >
                              > Brad,
                              >
                              > I would appreciate it if you stopped adding, "Rgds, Sonny" to the end of
                              > your poss. That makes it sound as if you are quoting me, and I will
                              > ask Robert to ban you from the group (I can at least ask) if you do not
                              > stop.
                              >
                              > You can add all the cute insults about me that you care to, but this
                              > form of insult (or whatever you intend) is inappropriate.
                              >
                              > Incidentally, science is not about proof.
                              >
                              <snip>
                            • Brad
                              ??? I don t even read your posts sonny why would I want to block you?   Brad Chance Favors The Prepared Mind~ L Pasteur ________________________________ From:
                              Message 14 of 16 , Oct 29, 2012
                              • 0 Attachment
                                ??? I don't even read your posts sonny why would I want to block you?
                                 
                                Brad
                                Chance Favors The Prepared Mind~ L Pasteur


                                From: hibbsa <hibbsa@...>
                                To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
                                Sent: Monday, October 29, 2012 10:52 AM
                                Subject: [evol-psych] Re: "pheromones in context"

                                 
                                Brad,
                                It is you who wants to play silly buggers with names. If you ask Robert to ban me then don't forget to ask him to ban you as well, for addressing me as Brad,
                                Rgds, Sonny

                                --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "clarence_sonny_williams" <clarencew@...> wrote:
                                >
                                > Brad,
                                >
                                > I would appreciate it if you stopped adding, "Rgds, Sonny" to the end of
                                > your poss. That makes it sound as if you are quoting me, and I will
                                > ask Robert to ban you from the group (I can at least ask) if you do not
                                > stop.
                                >
                                > You can add all the cute insults about me that you care to, but this
                                > form of insult (or whatever you intend) is inappropriate.
                                >
                                > Incidentally, science is not about proof.
                                >
                                <snip>


                              • clarence_sonny_williams
                                I apologize if Brad is not your name. I thought your name was Brad. Doesn t this group require that all posters identify themselves, and not use pseudo
                                Message 15 of 16 , Oct 29, 2012
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                                  I apologize if Brad is not your name. I thought your name was Brad.
                                  Doesn't this group require that all posters identify themselves, and not
                                  use "pseudo names"? I thought "hibbsa" was a pseudo name.

                                  Is Hibbsa your real name?

                                  Do not end your posts as you do this one, "Rgds, Sonny." That is the
                                  signature line, which means you attribute to me what came before. That
                                  should not be allowed.

                                  --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, "hibbsa" <hibbsa@...>
                                  wrote:
                                  >
                                  > Brad,
                                  > It is you who wants to play silly buggers with names. If you ask
                                  Robert to ban me then don't forget to ask him to ban you as well, for
                                  addressing me as Brad,
                                  > Rgds, Sonny
                                  >
                                  > --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com,
                                  "clarence_sonny_williams" clarencew@ wrote:
                                  > >
                                  > > Brad,
                                  > >
                                  > > I would appreciate it if you stopped adding, "Rgds, Sonny" to the
                                  end of
                                  > > your poss. That makes it sound as if you are quoting me, and I will
                                  > > ask Robert to ban you from the group (I can at least ask) if you do
                                  not
                                  > > stop.
                                  > >
                                  > > You can add all the cute insults about me that you care to, but this
                                  > > form of insult (or whatever you intend) is inappropriate.
                                  > >
                                  > > Incidentally, science is not about proof.
                                  > >
                                  > <snip>
                                  >
                                • clarence_sonny_williams
                                  Sorry, Brad, I used the wrong name in a response to Hibbsa. ... Robert to ban me then don t forget to ask him to ban you as well, for addressing me as Brad,
                                  Message 16 of 16 , Oct 31, 2012
                                  • 0 Attachment
                                    Sorry, Brad, I used the wrong name in a response to Hibbsa.

                                    --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com, Brad <devilboy6x9@...>
                                    wrote:
                                    >
                                    > ??? I don't even read your posts sonny why would I want to block you?
                                    >
                                    > Â
                                    > Brad
                                    > Chance Favors The Prepared Mind~ L Pasteur
                                    >
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > ________________________________
                                    > From: hibbsa hibbsa@...
                                    > To: evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com
                                    > Sent: Monday, October 29, 2012 10:52 AM
                                    > Subject: [evol-psych] Re: "pheromones in context"
                                    >
                                    >
                                    > Â
                                    > Brad,
                                    > It is you who wants to play silly buggers with names. If you ask
                                    Robert to ban me then don't forget to ask him to ban you as well, for
                                    addressing me as Brad,
                                    > Rgds, Sonny
                                    >
                                    > --- In evolutionary-psychology@yahoogroups.com,
                                    "clarence_sonny_williams" clarencew@ wrote:
                                    > >
                                    > > Brad,
                                    > >
                                    > > I would appreciate it if you stopped adding, "Rgds, Sonny" to the
                                    end of
                                    > > your poss. That makes it sound as if you are quoting me, and I will
                                    > > ask Robert to ban you from the group (I can at least ask) if you do
                                    not
                                    > > stop.
                                    > >
                                    > > You can add all the cute insults about me that you care to, but this
                                    > > form of insult (or whatever you intend) is inappropriate.
                                    > >
                                    > > Incidentally, science is not about proof.
                                    > >
                                    > <snip>
                                    >
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