For a review of how food odors and pheromones affect behavior see: Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338. DOI: 10.3402/snp.v2i0.17338.
Is the Secret to Olive Oil in Its Scent? By ANAHAD O’CONNOR
Excerpt: “After eating their yogurt, the olive oil group showed the greatest increases in blood levels of serotonin, a hormone associated with satiety. They also reduced their normal caloric intake most days to compensate for the extra daily yogurt, which prevented them from gaining weight….”
Excerpt: “The researchers attributed the impact of the olive oil scent to two aroma compounds that are particularly abundant in Italian olive oils, including hexanal, which is said to resemble the scent of freshly cut grass.”
“….consumers should be aware that the physiological impact of a meal is not limited to what they can see on the plate.
“This is the first time where we’ve really looked at the effects that things other than fatty acids, protein and carbohydrates have on satiety,” he said. “Everything that completes our impression of a meal can have an impact.”
My comment: The epigenetic effects of food odors associated with a meal were detailed in Kohl, J.V. (2012) (Published: 15 March 2012)
Background: 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.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusion: 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.
Keywords: behavior; development; evolution; odors; food; social; sexual; epigenetic; olfaction; pheromones; hormones; environment; animal; affect; effect; neuroscience.