A lesser role for olfaction and pheromones in humans?

From time to time I find articles that cite my published works. This is the most recent article to do so. Pheromones in sex and reproduction: Do they have a role in humans?

Concluding sentences: “In mammals, olfaction plays a major role in sexual attraction, excitement and even in triggering ovulation. However, in humans, because of their large and complex brains, it plays a minor role and is significantly supplanted by vision and/or fantasy in men and by hearing and/or touch in women. Also, although olfaction alters the neuroendocrine balance in mammals, olfaction is altered by hormones in humans.”

It may interest others to read this review (the full text is available online for free) and attempt to determine how the authors concluded that humans are very different from other mammals. There has never been any scientific support for statements about comparative neuroanatomy (e.g., brain size and complexity) that challenge the known importance either of food odors or of social odors to mammalian behavior. Both food odors and social odors (called pheromones) alter the neuroendocrine balance in mammals and these alterations are the determinants of food choice and social choice, which include food preferences, social preferences, and even sexual preferences.

In 2001, we wrote:  “We have addressed several aspects of what is consciously perceived to be visual attraction both from an ethological and neuroendocrinological approach. In other mammals, the olfactory link among hormones, pheromones, and a conspecific’s hormones and behavior would readily establish that visually perceived facial attractiveness, bodily symmetry, attractive WHRs, and genetically determined HLA attractiveness, are due to the neuroendocrinological conditioning of visual responsivity to olfactory stimuli.”

A decade later, the most recent review cites Kohl et al (2001) but ignores our conclusion and continues to posit a lesser role for olfaction in humans than in other mammals.

About James V. Kohl 1307 Articles
James Vaughn Kohl was the first to accurately conceptualize human pheromones, and began presenting his findings to the scientific community in 1992. He continues to present to, and publish for, diverse scientific and lay audiences, while constantly monitoring the scientific presses for new information that is relevant to the development of his initial and ongoing conceptualization of human pheromones. Recently, Kohl integrated scientific evidence that pinpoints the evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links olfactory/pheromonal input to genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in a specific area of the brain that is primarily involved in the sensory integration of olfactory and visual input, and in the development of human sexual preferences. His award-winning 2007 article/book chapter on multisensory integration: The Mind’s Eyes: Human pheromones, neuroscience, and male sexual preferences followed an award winning 2001 publication: Human pheromones: integrating neuroendocrinology and ethology, which was coauthored by disinguished researchers from Vienna. Rarely do researchers win awards in multiple disciplines, but Kohl’s 2001 award was for neuroscience, and his 2007 “Reiss Theory” award was for social science. Kohl has worked as a medical laboratory scientist since 1974, and he has devoted more than twenty-five years to researching the relationship between the sense of smell and the development of human sexual preferences. Unlike many researchers who work with non-human subjects, medical laboratory scientists use the latest technology from many scientific disciplines to perform a variety of specialized diagnostic medical testing on people. James V. Kohl is certified with: * American Society for Clinical Pathology * American Medical Technologists James V. Kohl is a member of: * Society for Neuroscience * Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology * Association for Chemoreception Sciences * Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality * International Society for Human Ethology * American Society for Clinical Laboratory Science * Mensa, the international high IQ society