Here are five different versions of the same story about women choosing the genetically determined scent of their fathers. Be sure to paste the entire URL into your browser if click through doesn\'t work.
Does this totally go agaisnt the view that women choose the scent of genetic diversity?!
Yes, anything Martha publishes gets lots of attention--she\'s my heroine. Last April when I saw her, she told me that before attending any conference, she always checks my website for the latest news--and that made her even more special to me. But, in combination with Carole Ober, this is kick as_ stuff.
Truth: these media interpretations are tricky. You never know what they will publish from what you tell them. I strongly suspect that anyone associated with this research project is telling the media about the difference between \"nesting\" pheromones (those that are pleasant due to familiarity) and mating pheromones, which are pleasant due to dissimilarity. Sure women will go for the pheromones of their father, but only to the point where genetic diversity becomes paramount. Then, when it comes to mate choice, they will choose for genetic diversity--as reported by Carole Ober in an early publication, and as supported by Wedekind\'s studies.
Think about this. The reason you prefer female pheromones is because of their association with your mother. But the reason you prefer a particular female\'s pheromones is because you associate them with a pleasant or rewarding experience. That\'s why we develop preferences for blue-eyed blondes, versus brown-eyed brunettes, and why everyone does not develop the same preference. Experience plays a key role, and with pheromones, experience causes changes in hormone levels that alter brain development. These alterations occur at different stages in life, which explains why women like the scent of their fathers, but also why they will find the scent of a particular man to be best (when it is associated with a pleasant or rewarding experience).
Don\'t let the media reports throw you. And, just for kicks, I\'ll include here an excerpt from one of the psychologists from a listserver, who--like many other psychologists--continues to promote the fact that humans are more visual creatures--despite absolutely no evidence for such a statement.
Before the conversation gets muddled on this point, there is an important distinction to be made between pheromones and odorants, or
\"smells that we smell.\" The former term, in mammals, refers to molecules, as yet unidentified to my knowledge, that are detected by ~ 400 kinds of receptors located in dendrites of neurons in the vomeronasal
organ; the excited neurons send signals directly to the amygdala and hippocampus without cortical involvement. Odorants, by contrast, are detected by a completely different set of ~2000 kinds of receptors in the dendrites of neurons in the olfactory bulb, and these make cortical connections.
Rodents make their mating decisions via the VNO; ablate it and no interest in mating. Humans, by contrast, have a vestigial VNO; all but 2-3 of our pheromone receptor genes are pseudogenes, and we lack a copy of the Trp2 gene that encodes a channel essential for rodent pheromone receptor signal transduction. So, it looks like we do things another way. This does not rule out that there are odorant molecules that influence our sexual responsiveness -- our experience certainly says that there are --and it could be the case that there are olfactory neurons firing and synapsing with cortical regions that do not enter our awareness -- our
experience certainly says that our awareness is a complicated matter. But at present it looks like we don\'t do much with the rodent pheromone system itself.
This has in fact been sad news to those of us who have posited a human pheromone system as underlying involuntary \"fatal attractions\" etc. and thereby elicited rapt undergraduate attention when we reached this topic
in our lectures.
But for evolutionary psychology there is a fascinating correlate here, which is that the pheromone receptors and the Trp2 gene are alive and well in the primate lineage up to the old world/new world monkey split, at
which point they degenerate in the primate lineage. The correlate is that this is when the green opsin system appears. Therefore, the loss of the pheromone system may have coincided with the acquisition of a more
discriminating visual system for mate choice in our kind.
Loss of the pheromone system? This makes me angry, sometimes. At other times I simply respond to such annoying diatribes by putting such nonsense in its place. Human pheromones alter hormones in other humans; thus they alter behavior. This has now been shown repeatedly. Anyone who continues to focus on whether the VNO is vestigial, is misguided. And anyone who thinks we don\'t use pheromones as much as other mammals, is uninformed. The articles I mentioned both quote Martha saying that women can detect differences in odors that reflect a difference determined by a single gene. Try detecting the difference a single gene makes by looking at someone, and you have clarity on whether olfaction and pheromones or visual input makes the most difference in our behavior. Besides, there is absolutely no scientific evidence that takes us from visual input directly to changes in hormones. This direct route is required to get changes in behavior--and the direct route is only accomplished through pheromones and olfaction.
I think that everyone in this Forum is likely to be more intelligent about pheromones than 90% of the psychologists I have encountered. This is both amusing to me, and cause for concern. And, as you can see from the length of this post, it rattles my cage.
Which means that those of us experienced types can and do do a lot of interesting shit to other people who have no idea and also it makes for some interesting tests, but hey i dont mind, it gives me a greater insight into the world order the way it really is plus more exposure to really good women oh well life is interesting right but most people say well this is a load of shit and as i always say well better me to have hot women etc than you you mindless led by the nost types who belive the world is wonderful im so important (its good to be able to use the me me mentality of people to my advantage and why the hell not)
THanks james looks like its at least getting some attention anyway.
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