Nobel laureate challenges psychologists to clean up their act

Nature | News

Social-priming research needs “daisy chain” of replication. Ed Yong

Excerpt: “Kahneman, a psychologist at Princeton University in New Jersey, addressed his open e-mail to researchers who work on social priming, the study of how subtle cues can unconsciously influence our thoughts or behaviour.”

My comment: From behavioral epigenetics it is now clearer that an environmental drive evolved from that of nutrient chemical ingestion in unicellular organisms to that of socialization in insects. The honeybee model organism exemplifies that fact. What the queen eats determines her pheromone production and everything else about the interactions in the colony. It is also clear that, in mammals, food odors and pheromones cause changes in hormones that have developmental affects on behavior in nutrient-dependent reproductively fit individuals.

Social scientists may want to include knowledge of the basic principles of biology and levels of biological organization in their studies of social priming. In all vertebrates, for example, the effects of social odors on hormones cause unconscious affects on the development of behavior. A sensory stimulus-> effect-> hormone-> affect approach could incorporate what is known about the requirement for gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ system reciprocity in adaptive evolution, and help to ensure that no missing steps in this critical path lead to results that cannot be replicated because the requirements for adaptive evolution of behavior via ecological, social, neurogenic, and socio-cognitive niche construction were not considered.

For example, social priming doesn’t begin with a visual stimulus or a hormone like oxytocin in mammals. It begins with gene activation by a sensory stimulus that epigenetically effects intracellular signaling and stochastic gene expression. It’s gene expression in gonadotropin releasing hormone neurosecretory cells of brain tissue that links sensory stimuli directly to changes in nutrient chemical-dependent species-specific social priming and behaviors — via downstream effects on other hormones in all vertebrates. Starting with something that affects behavior in individuals or groups from one species and expecting to find reproducible results at different developmental stages in another species virtually ensures missing the involvement of genetic predispositions and experience-dependent epigenetic effects.

Replication attempts are doomed to fail if only for the fact that each individual of each group tested has slightly different genetic predispositions and experiences that epigenetically effect hormones that affect behavior during development. No matter what measure of behavior is used, if a model for behavioral development is not used there’s likely to be a problem with replication.

About James V. Kohl 1308 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