Archive for January, 2011
Biofiction, Philosophy, Pheromones, and Spirituality
“Can fiction be philosophical? Even novelists trained in philosophy have sometimes insisted no.”
Biofiction| see The Philosophical Novel
“Neural networks from beehives to brains solve problems through the exchange and the selective cancellation and modification of signals.” from Greg Bear’s presentation to the American Philosophical Society, see the full text here:
Greg and I were members of Howard Bloom’s International Paleopsychology Project. Howard wrote “The Global Brain,” which in the context of Greg’s “…from beehives to brains…” is indicative of the means by which problem solving has evolved from the use of chemical signals, like pheromones, to the molecular networks of the signaling, regulatory, and metabolic types that generate behavior via brain circuitry operating in real time. The honeybee has emerged as a model for all this, and by all this, I mean everything about the birds, the bees, and us. (more…)read more January 26, 2011 • 8:42 AM
Current Issues in the Study of Androstenes in Human Chemosignaling
Those who are interested in the latest research might be interested in the full text of this journal article / book chapter.
Adrenaline injection increased androsterone, which helps to explain why androsterone is associated with masculinity. The adrenal glands kick in when we’re in a fight or flight situation, and the extra androsterone is a very likely signal of a winner. There is not much other information on androsterone, because the article is about the androstenes: androstadienone, androstenone, androstenol. If you want to see what other researchers think about these chemicals, here’s your chance. It’s the best review of the research that I’ve seen.read more January 05, 2011 • 2:08 PM
Female tears change testosterone and sexual arousal in menread more January 06, 2011 • 4:08 PM
Tears and fears of pheromones
Results that conclusively demonstrate there are chemosignals in human tears make me wonder why the term chemosignals is used. What’s been demonstrated is the presence of human pheromones. What are the researchers and journalists afraid of? I ask because in 1971 Lewis Thomas named this fear.
A Fear of Pheromones: first paragraph “What are we going to do if it turns out that we have pheromones? What on earth would we be doing with such things? With the richness of speech, and all our new devices for communication, why would we want to release odors into the air to convey information about anything? We can send notes, telephone, whisper cryptic invitations, announce the giving of parties, even bounce words off the moon and make them carom around the planets. Why a gas, or droplets of moisture made to be deposited on fenceposts?” (more…)read more January 06, 2011 • 7:56 PM
Human pheromones in tears automagically effect testosterone
Automagically adv. Automatically in a way that seems magical.
Most people tend to think that human pheromones automagically effect behavior. This form of magical thinking is appropriate for those who have little use for biologically based logic. Here’s an example of biologically based logic: The putative human pheromone pregna-4,20-diene-3,6-dione links increased progesterone levels to the likelihood of a signal in the tears of women. Predictably, when this signal is found, it will be one that varies with menstrual cycle phase. That means there will be increased amount of the signal when women are menstruating (and reportedly are more prone to emotional tears).
Although this chemical was reported to act on testosterone via what turned out to be a non-functional human VNO in 1998: , the results reported here in January, 2011 continue to suggest that human pheromones act via a genetically conserved pathway in all mammals. Mammalian pheromones effect gonadotropin releasing hormone and luteinizing hormone/follicle stimulating hormone ratios, which links them to changes in levels of steroid hormones like testosterone. Changes in hormones link the pheromones to changes in behavior. (more…)read more January 10, 2011 • 1:56 PM
Debunking the myth of pheromones
By now you probably know that I have become somewhat annoyed by the attention Dr. Richard L. Doty’s book is receiving, especially among those who I expect to know more about science than they obviously know. I think they should learn about mammalian pheromones before commenting on “The Great Pheromone Myth.”
That’s why I have added my comments, and will continue to add them to articles that allow for their inclusion.
Is that wrong? If not, look for my comments after the end of this brief article.read more January 23, 2011 • 4:54 PM
Pheromones and Physiology: Faculty of 1000: Naturally Selected
Bruce McEwen has joined Allen Cowley and Denis Noble as joint Head of Physiology among the Faculty of 1000. There is a brief audiotape about the ongoing importance of physiology even as new perspectives are being offered – given the accumulating knowledge of molecular networks.
I’ve added some comments to “Naturally Selected,” where this announcement about Dr. McEwen was posted, but will post details here. (more…)read more January 25, 2011 • 4:57 PM
Lack of a gender detection region for face stimuli
Full text available for free: The gender of face stimuli is represented in multiple regions in the human brain Alumit Ishai, Christian Kaul, Geraint Rees Published on 21 January 2011
“Given the evolutionary importance of gender information and its fundamental nature in face processing, it is plausible that there is no “gender-detection region” in the human brain, but rather, gender information is a distributed attribute.”
The lack of a “gender-detection region” is a telling feature of how gender perception works in other animals and in humans, because no neurophysiological mechanism has been proposed that enables the differences in perception of male and female faces. In other animals, the perception of males and females is associated with olfactory/pheromonal input rather than consciously perceived visual input.
If, as it appears to be, gender information is a distributed attribute, it seems more likely to be steroid hormone-dependent due to the effects of differences in steroid hormones on the brain structures where information must be integrated in gender detection. (more…)read more January 26, 2011 • 12:35 PM
Pheromones and olfaction in the birds and the bees: from yeasts to you
This recent report helps to confirm that olfaction is essential to behavioral development in the birds and the bees (i.e., from insects to vertebrates). In addition, there are now several articles that report on how pheromones are involved in sexual arousal in birds (Ball and Balthazart in press), as well as in mate choice (Whittaker, Soini et al. 2010) (Caro and Balthazart 2010). These and other peer-reviewed publications address the science of cause and effect that is missing from earlier works on avian behavior.
Until recently, visual and auditory signals were considered to be the more salient cues involved in avian species. (more…)read more January 31, 2011 • 7:45 AM