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Human pheromone deniers

Posted on April 9, 2013 by James Kohl.

Human Pheromones: Abandoned by the Wayside

Excerpt:This dependence on learning and context undercuts the most fundamental idea of a pheromone; that is, that responses to it are “instinctual” and therefore not learned. Similarly, the fact that most chemosignals altering mammalian behavior and/or physiology are complex mixtures often lacking species-specificity, rather than being potent and essential singular compounds, further erodes the utility of the term “pheromone”. Because of these concerns, it is perhaps wise to restrict the term to molecules that have met each and every criterion of a pheromone, as used in the classical ethological sense. [emphasis by Avery Gilbert]”

See: Chemosignals, Hormones and Mammalian Reproduction

My comment: “Pheromones are defined as substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction, for example, a definite behavior, or a developmental process.” – Karlson and Luscher (1959)

In the definition above there is no “…fundamental idea of a pheromone.” They simply do not exist as an idea or as individual chemicals.  In the classical ethological sense, pheromones exist as blends of chemicals just as food odors exist as blends of chemicals.

It is academically irresponsible to come up with an idea that ignores the definition of pheromones, and to then tell people that human pheromones don’t exist. It is as foolish as telling people that food odors don’t exist because no individual chemical component of a food odor alters a specific reaction, definite behavior, or developmental process in every human.

Human pheromones and food odors alter physiology and behavior via the same molecular mechanisms found in species from microbes to man. We could not possibly have adaptively evolved to become more visual creatures — as human pheromone deniers often claim. We know that the appeal of food is chemical, not visual.  For proof, close your eyes and take a bite of something.  Or simply acknowledge the fact that adaptive evolution is nutrient-dependent and pheromone-controlled, if only because that fact is exemplified in all animal models.

The honeybee model organism is most pertinent to discussion of human pheromones. What the queen bee eats determines her pheromone production and everything else about the hormone-organized and hormone-activated behavior of every bee in the colony.  Our behavior is hormone organized and hormone activated just like the behavior of all insects and all other mammals.

Pheromones directly effect hormone-organized and hormone-activated behavior in all species of invertebrates and vertebrates. This is consistent with nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled adaptive evolution in species from microbes to man.  Denying that human pheromones exist is consistent with nonsensical theories about how differences in nutrient-dependent pheromone-controlled behaviors evolved in species from microbes to man.

See also: Dialogue on pheromones: Avery Gilbert / James V. Kohl



James Kohl
Retired medical laboratory scientist

James Kohl

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