Is Love in the Air? Human Pheromones and Axillary Chemistry by George Preti
February 9, 2012 | James Kohl
American Chemical Society (ACS Webinars™)
Given the forthcoming Valentine’s Day celebrations, this timely hour-long presentation by Dr. George Preti may be the most informative presentation on pheromones, including human pheromones that will ever be available ~ unless I am asked to present one (just kidding). George is the greatest! Meanwhile, my comments on his presentation may help to interest others in what he has to say about the chemistry of pheromones. I recommend his presentation without reservation, although he does not favorably represent most pheromone-enhanced products, and hope the comments below will be added to the ACS site. In case they are not, here is what I submitted:
Comment 1: I thank George for featuring my product “The Scent of Eros” in this excellent presentation about scientific facts and pheromones, including human pheromones. I will clarify the fact that my product does not contain androstenone, like the others George featured. It does contain androstenol which his work has shown alters levels of luteinizing hormone and mood in women.
At the 2011 annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences, results from a study of college women were presented that showed this mixture of androstenol and androsterone (a primate specific indicator of reproductive fitness found in its highest concentrations in men) increased women’s observed flirtatious behavior and self-reported level of attraction to a man wearing the mixture (during a 15-minute interaction). The poster presentation is available on the New York Academy of Sciences Faculty of 1000 site at the following URL: http://posters.f1000.com/P1387 Although Dr. Preti was unable to attend the meeting where these results were presented, it would be interesting to hear what he has to say about them because they link an insect model of pheromones and behavior to my mammalian model. In this regard, I suggest that interested individuals also read my award-winning peer reviewed articles, my book, and my book chapter in the Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality. Again, thanks to George for advancing the science of human pheromones. Few people are as qualified as he is to do so.
Comment 2: What’s left after Dr. Preti’s excellent presentation on the chemistry of pheromones is their representation including cause and effect at the level of molecular biology. For example, watch for: Kohl JV (in press) Human pheromones and food odors: Epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology. Abstract: Olfactory cues directly link the environment to gene expression. Two types of olfactory cues, food odors and social odors, alter genetically predisposed hormone-mediated activity in the mammalian brain. The honeybee is a model organism for understanding the epigenetic link from food odors and social odors to neural networks of the mammalian brain, which ultimately determine human behavior. Pertinent aspects that extend the honeybee model to human behavior include bottom-up followed by top-down gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ-system, and organism reciprocity; neurophysiological effects of food odors and of sexually dimorphic, species-specific social odors; a model of motor function required for social selection that precedes sexual selection; and hormonal effects that link current neuroscience to social science affects on the development of animal behavior. As the psychological influence of food odors and social orders is examined in detail, the socioaffective nature of olfactory cues on the biologically based development of sexual preferences across all species that sexually reproduce becomes clearer.
If you can grasp how food odors influence your behavior, you can probably grasp how social odors, called pheromones, influence your behavior. It’s the same way that pheromones and food odors influence behavior in every species. That means you don’t need to understand the required chemistry or molecular biology, you need only have common sense. And the only sense that’s common to all species on this planet is the sense of smell (represented as one of the chemical senses in species from microbes to man). So if you think the appeal of food or other people is a function of what you see (or hear), it’s time to come to your senses.