Dr. Richard L. Doty’s claim that pheromones in mammals are a myth is again falsified by the presentation of data from a study of student women. As always, I welcome challenges to our study design, constructive criticisms on our results, and comments on biologically based animal models of behavior that do not incorporate pheromones. My question to Dr. Doty is: If mammalian pheromones don’t exist, what shall we call the human pheromones that elicit behavioral affects?
Association for Chemoreception Sciences XXXIII April 13-17, 2011 Tradewinds Island Grand St. Pete Beach, Florida
#P301 POSTER SESSION VI: OLFACTION: PERIPHERY; OLFACTORY CNS; PSYCHOPHYSICS; HUMAN CHEMICAL SIGNALING
Human Pheromones, Epigenetics, Physiology, and the Development of Animal Behavior
James V Kohl, Stone Independent Research, Inc. Phoenix , NY , USA
Linda C Kelahan, Heather Hoffmann, Knox College/Psychology Galesberg , IL , USA
Androsterone, as used here, smells like fresh sweat. It is an individual human male-specific and somewhat primate-specific part of a mixture of axillary chemical secretions that contain androstenol, which influences levels of luteinizing hormone (LH) and mood in women. LH is a hormonal measure of diet dependent sexual maturity and fertility, which is influenced by mammalian pheromones. Mammalian conditioning paradigms suggest that androstenol conditions hormonal effects in females, which may be unconsciously associated with behavioral affects of androsterone in women. We evaluated individual video-taped fifteen-minute interactions of fourteen women with fertile phase levels of LH during a cooperative task. During the task, our male accomplice wore either a standardized androstenol / androsterone mixture diluted in propylene glycol, or just the diluent — with sandalwood odor added to keep him blind to his condition.
When he was wearing the mixture compared to when he wore the diluent, women were more likely to make eye contact (t(12) = 3.43, p = .01; IRR: r = .964, p = .01). They also laughed more (t(12) = 5.20, p <.01; IRR: r = .810, p = .01), and they subsequently rated themselves as being more attracted to him (t(12) = 2.786, p = .016). Our results combine the known effects of androstenol on LH and on mood with a likely behavioral affect of androsterone. They also address contrarian opinions and extend to human females a eusocial insect model for the epigenetic effects of diet and of pheromones on hormone-mediated gene expression during behavioral development. Our mixture characterizes species-specific human pheromones, their epigenetic effects on physiology, and their affect on behavior. Our results are consistent with a validated, unaltered, decades-old, across-species concept of pheromones.