Human pheromones: Reward linked to image is enough to activate brain’s visual cortex March 21, 2013 in Neuroscience
Excerpt: “Why does the visual cortex react selectively in the absence of a visual stimulus on the retina? One potential explanation is dopamine. “Dopamine is a signalling chemical (neurotransmitter) in nerve cells and plays an important role in processing rewards, motivation, and motor functions.”
My comment: The study results exemplify what occurs in other mammals due to the epigenetic effects of nutrients and pheromones on the microRNA /messenger RNA balance, which are associated with downstream effects on dopamine and affects on behavior. Clearly, it is the association of visual input with classically conditioned hormone-organized and hormone-activated (e.g., neuroendocrine) responses that ‘control’ brain-directed behavior, which is often attributed only to visual input.
The reason the association is clear is because the molecular mechanisms of behavior are the same in species from microbes to man. However, olfactory/pheromonal conditioning of brain-directed behavior due to food odors and pheromones is probably best exemplified in the honeybee model organism. See for example: Kohl, J.V. (2012) Human pheromones and food odors: epigenetic influences on the socioaffective nature of evolved behaviors. Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology, 2: 17338
For the epigenetic connection to amino acid substitutions, organism-level thermoregulation and cognition, see also: On the Genetic Basis of Face Cognition and its Relation to Fluid Cognitive Abilities
Neuroanatomist Simon Le Vay has placed this in the context of my model. In Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: The Science of Sexual Orientation he notes on page 210: “This model is attractive in that it solves the “binding problem” of sexual attraction. By that I mean the problem of why all the different features of men or women (visual appearance and feel of face, body, and genitals; voice quality, smell; personality and behavior, etc.) attract people as a more or less coherent package representing one sex, rather than as an arbitrary collage of male and female characteristics. If all these characteristics come to be attractive because they were experienced in association with a male- or female-specific pheromone, then they will naturally go together even in the absence of complex genetically coded instructions.”