RE: Summary and thought on JV Kohl's poster presentation |
03-30-2011 12:04 PM
Thank you Kevin. You're points are well taken and the issue of using a larger 65 men/65 women, albeit somewhat similar age (ave 23), sample population was addressed by colleagues that include Martha McClintock. (Olsson, MJ, Lundstrom, JN, Esteves, F, Arriaga, P, McClintock, MK)
They used our study design, but tested androstadienone, because that's what they've been working with during the past decade. It did not surprise me when they concluded that: "The current results reject the idea that Androstadienone enhances flirting behavior within couples."
Controlling for age and menstrual cycle phase is a must in attempts to show statistically significant behavioral affects. Not that we are forcing that issue with our study design; we just try to provide the most natural conditions possible, as would be present in any other animal interactions, which provide the basis for our research. It is my mammalian model that supports the anecdotal reports suggesting pheromones work across all age groups, and at different times and places. But trying to pinpoint cause and effect (e.g. on hormones like LH), and the affect of the likely hormonal change on behavior, is the goal. So, like many others we use college students, although we try not to treat them too much like lab rats.
We benefited a great deal through Linda Kellahan's involvement in the study. She basically took it over from her professor, Heather Hoffmann, who had initially agreed to do a follow-up of one done in her department several years earlier, which followed my study design. I suspect it is much easier for a college student to study other college students than it would be for a professor, or someone like me to do so. Indeed, it was Linda who added the questions about the women's level of attraction in a second study using an odor mask control, which I advised her against doing. I didn't think we could accomplish anything further, because it would be difficult to determine what affect, if any, might be due to a consciously perceived odor. Then, after our results were in, I learned of work by others that showed fragrance enhances the affect of axillary secretions (i.e., pheromones). Lenochova, P. Havlicek, J. Oberzaucher, E. Grammer, K. (2008) "...our second analysis shows that perfume is not merely masking the body odour, but rather that some aspect of body odour quality is preserved. Thus, our results support the idea of perfume-body odour interaction."
Oberzaucher and Grammer (see above) are attempting replication of our results. And it was Johan Lundstrom, who is from the group studying androstadienone, who suggested sandalwood odor be used in our odor mask control study.
I'm mentioning the other research and researchers as examples of how we can progress through co-operative and collaborative efforts that have until recently not been made. I think that now, the competitive approaches to finding statistically significant results of behavioral affects have all but disappeared. As is also the case on this Forum, we are seeing that more people recognize the influence of human pheromones can be great, but they also realize there are no magical effects. Overall, the combination of science and consumer's observations will continue to promote a reasonable approach to the beneficial uses of human pheromones, which are just now beginning to see extend to anti-aging medicine.
James V. Kohl