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Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
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jvkohl
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Post: #1
Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-08-2011 7:05 PM

Olfactory Predictive Codes and Stimulus Templates in Piriform Cortex

This exemplifies olfactory/pheromonal conditioning of responses to chemical stimuli from the sensory environment paired with other sensory input. The reaction can appear to precede the stimulus presentation in cases where repeated associations result in unconscious affects on behavior. The take home message for romantics who think love at first sight is a response to visual appealing physical features is that love is a conditioned response to pheromones. But don't take my interpretation for anything more than an interpretation. Think for yourself, but first close your eyes. Now, picture your favorite food in your mind's eyes without any associated odor.

James V. Kohl
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10-08-2011 7:05 PM
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Post: #2
RE: Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-09-2011 12:09 PM

Very interesting! Thanks JV! I wonder if anybody like Injektilo has access to fMRI equipment? I've love to see someone to a Master thesis or PhD dissertation on imaging pheromonal responses given the broad range of pheromones used regularly on this forum!

I'll spray anything apparently...
10-09-2011 12:09 PM
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jvkohl
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Post: #3
RE: Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-09-2011 7:30 PM

With few exceptions, there is no reason for scientists to believe that the broad range of pheromones used regularly on this forum have behavioral affects on humans. Anyone pursuing a graduate degree would need to first justify to an academic advisor why they were using a given chemical or chemical combination, and I've seen nothing indicating either species specificity or the likely effect on hormones that would lead to proper study design. for example: Human pheromones, epigenetics, physiology, and the development of animal behavior

James V. Kohl
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(This post was last modified: 10-09-2011 8:59 PM by jvkohl.)
10-09-2011 7:30 PM
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Post: #4
RE: Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-09-2011 8:15 PM

That link isn't working...

Those are very expensive machines to run, so yeah you have a good point - "I read about it in a forum on the internet" won't pass muster for $500-$600 per hour, and personal experiences with various substances here probably aren't good enough.

So how would the types of "field testing" done here reach of a level of justification for any type of testing, interview-based or otherwise?

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10-09-2011 8:15 PM
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Post: #5
RE: Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-09-2011 9:10 PM

I edited the link and replaced it with one that I just checked to ensure it works: http://f1000.com/posters/browse/summary/1387

The "field testing" done here will not reach of a level of justification for any type of further testing, interview-based or otherwise. Besides, most researchers are fed up with unsubstantiated claims for the effectiveness of human pheromones, and some even refuse to look at our evidence that they influence women's behavior and level of attraction. This has delayed replication, and I can't be sure that anyone who is now attempting to replicate our findings will not alter our study design. So, at the same time that Jay Gottfried's group is realizing that the effect of odors is on the development of templates in the brain, no one has yet attempted to show the same thing with social odors/pheromones. I think we have folks like Richard Doty to thank for limiting scientific progress in this regard. But he probably would not have written his book if the ridiculous claims for the effectiveness of human pheromones (guaranteed to get you more affection/sex/whatever) had not been made.

James V. Kohl
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10-09-2011 9:10 PM
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Post: #6
RE: Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-09-2011 10:43 PM

Agreed - while a number of the chemicals here do appear to do something, self-affecting and otherwise, I wonder how many would even appear to stimulate patterns of brain activity when visualized, as opposed to just producing a cascade of signalling chemicals.

I wonder about that a lot.

And because of the commercialization efforts for years and currently, as well as folks like Doty, I can see where researchers might be less than enthusiastic about having to defend findings or even pick up the topic.

Sad.

I bet intelligence agencies here and abroad are not afraid of researching pheromone-like substances that can influence behavior, but I doubt that we would ever see research from agencies that would stand up to rigorous process review.

It seems like the "what it does" and the "how it does it" angles of research in chemoreception are reaching out timidly to each other and haven't found a solid connection yet formed a set of organizing theories, excepting of course your research where you connected the two.

Other than that, the "field research" here is completely "what it does", and when combined with the "Pick-Up Artist"/social and situational engineering done while using them, I don't see how any study could be done that could be replicated. I know a lot of folks here are pretty sure that the chemicals in their kits are reliably producing specific effects, but how to prove or disprove an effect when so many factors are in play at the same time? Location, time of day, lighting, scent, alcohol, familiarity, appearance, body position and gestures, language, the list is endless! How could one possibly isolate a specific chemical or mix of chemicals and say that it did or did not produce effect X? Other than your work with the Luteinizing Hormone - of course there may be many others waiting to be discovered that are directly measurable with a physiological and psychological effect.

But when the "field testing" is done in such a specific context it hardly seems possible to say anything quantitative, only very subjective qualitative statements can be made. And the "works for me"-type "hits" folks describe are so subjective that it really seems to mostly just keep us jumping from one product to the next, trying to get the same kind of "hits" for ourselves. The folks that have been using for a long time have their "old reliables" and can consistently get hits it seems, so for newcomers like myself this is all enticing and frustrating at the same time.

I recognize the commercial game in play (Androtics-inspired it seems to me), as well as the fact that folks are really having fun and having experience that they feel are directly attributable to whatever they used. I'm having fun too, and remain both hopeful and skeptical, and I'm learning quite a bit about a lot of things I've never picked up on before.

I guess I wonder about some the same things that you and other researchers are struggling with - how to produce experimental results that stand up to scrutiny and peer review. I'm just not seeing a way currently, but I sincerely hope that you and the research community that is interested in pheromones can come up with the protocols and methodologies to reach the scientific community at large and keep gaining validity!

Thanks for sharing stuff like this, you post very interesting findings!

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10-09-2011 10:43 PM
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Post: #7
RE: Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-10-2011 3:37 AM

I've continued to defend the only model linking sensory cause to behavioral affect for 2 decades. One would think the gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ system pathway would be incorporated into the study design of others if only because it is the only pathway directly linking olfactory/pheromonal cause, effect on hormones, and the affect of hormones on behavior. The fact that we have so many studies say this-causes-that is a testament to the ability of most people to buy into whatever others say without looking at it critically. One example is oxytocin. I plan to attend a conference on Prosocial Behavior in Atlanta soon. Oxytocin -- and those who have done the actual research on it -- are featured prominently on the program. Yet there is no indication in any of the literature that oxytocin affects behavior except for when it's examined in light of the gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ system pathway driven by olfactory/pheromonal input. Therein lies part of the problem. Much of the funded research looks at effects and affects far downstream from their point of initiation -- as this article by Gottfried et al., states more clearly than others that preceded it. But comparatively speaking, there is so much tunnel vision among researchers that funding for more research on oxytocin will continue to flow in hundreds of thousands of dollars, all the while olfactory researchers, including those who want to know what is going on with human pheromones are left on the side lines waiting for a few pennies to be tossed their way.

James V. Kohl
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Author/Creator: The Scent of Eros
10-10-2011 3:37 AM
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Post: #8
RE: Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-10-2011 4:43 AM

James makes excellent points. One thing I will point out is that there is a good tradition of qualitative research in the social sciences, and in my opinion a couple of well designed qualitative studies, published in respected social science journals, could do a lot to pave the way for neurobiological research funding.

I'm hoping that within a few years I'll be able to set up that type of qualitative research program myself.

Also, while playing with pre-made products is fun, it doesn't have much to do with any kind of science at this point -- Scent of Eros excepted. The scientific approach is to test molecules individually and record potential self- and social-effects until patterns emerge, then create simple mixes based on those results.
(This post was last modified: 10-10-2011 4:54 AM by dbot.)
10-10-2011 4:43 AM
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jvkohl
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Post: #9
RE: Odors establish stimulus templates in the brain
10-10-2011 8:01 AM

Social scientists are now being directed (for example by the American Society of Addictive Medicine) to pay more attention to neuroscientific cause and effect. The beginning of this paradigm shift may help you to set up a qualitative research program by pressuring funding agencies to respond to grant applications more favorably, so I would suggest you incorporate what they say about addiction.

A new journal: Socioaffective Neuroscience and Psychology appears poised to connect neuroscience to social science research. As always, however, serious researchers must wait to see what message gets through to the consumers.

James V. Kohl
Clinical Laboratory Scientist (ASCLS)
Medical Laboratory Scientist (ASCP)
Medical Technologist (AMT)
Author/Creator: The Scent of Eros
10-10-2011 8:01 AM
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