Study design| Psychophysics experiment | Perspective on conditioning
March 6, 2011 | jim
Our research shows that a mixture of human pheromones influences women’s flirtatious behavior and self-reported level of attraction to a man during a 15-minute long videotaped interaction. We based our experimental design on aspects of biologically based behavior that are common across species from yeasts to other primates.
Our design has been criticized by researchers who challenge the very obvious generalizations that are due to very low biological variability across different species of organisms. These challenges persist even though it is widely known and generally accepted that in species that sexually reproduce olfactory/pheromonal input from the environment is more important to survival than is any other form of sensory input.
For those who are not experts, it makes better sense for me to say that — in common sense terms — the chemical senses are common to all animal species. In all species, something akin to the mammalian sense of smell is required for food selection and social selection. This is obvious. Proper food selection is required for survival of the species. So is social selection for interaction with members of the same species. Solitary mammals might find food, but they cannot sexually reproduce without a member of the same species.
Our experimental approach was to record and observe behaviors in women. We believe that these behaviors are conditioned to occur via association with olfactory/pheromonal input. Pheromones, for example, unequivocally changes levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) in other mammals, and they also change mood in women. The change in LH links the well-detailed neurophysiological mechanisms, which are responsible for behavioral affects in other mammals, to chemically-driven changes in women’s behavior.