Conditioned sexual arousal to odor

Here’s a link to an article abstract that indicates that pheromones condition sexual arousal to occur in the presence of other sensory input from the social environment (e.g., odors). However, because the sexual arousal is conditioned to occur, the researchers indicate that pheromones are not the cause of the arousal.

Conditioned sexual arousal in a non-human primate

Pheromones, by definition, effect hormones that affect behavior.  I don’t think most people would argue that pheromones are causing the arousal, because — in this case — the abstract mentions the hormone response. Obviously, some people are more reserved with their use of the term: pheromones. Clearly, it comes down to how you define the term pheromones, and what you expect to observe as a response.  But it should also become clear that some people do not want to extend the original definition of pheromones (as used for insects) to other species in cases where behavior is not quite so dependent on chemical signals from others.

Work by JVK with colleagues LCK and HH,  has shown that the mixture of chemicals in Scent of Eros increases flirtatious behavior and ratings of attraction when these chemicals are worn by a man who interacts with individual women during a 15-minute social construct. They didn’t check for any hormone response, but the mixture’s affect on hormone-associated behavior is probably the first real demonstration that human pheromones (i.e., as originally defined) exist, and also that the behavioral change in women is conditioned to occur in response to the chemicals we used. Once this conditioning has occurred, the pheromones are no longer required, although they can — in other species — elicit the conditioned response. The study linked above is the first demonstration of a conditioned response in another primate species.

Claims by others who may think they have discovered human pheromones, should include:

1. information about the mixture used (because pheromones are typically found in mixtures),

2. excuses for not using a study design that was typical of human social interaction, which is often brief.  (Reports that Athena pheromones are effective in 74% in 8 weeks do not indicate human pheromones are involved.)  See, for example:  Do perfume additives termed human pheromones warrant being termed pheromones?

3. excuses for using a supraphysiological amount of any chemical suspected of having a pheromonal effect on hormones or affect on behavior.  See for review: Human Pheromones: What’s Purported, What’s Supported.

Some researchers and marketers continue to hope consumers will gradually become better informed and make purchases, if any, based on science rather than on vague claims.

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