Pheromones’ surprsing love life
Published: Tuesday, February 28, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, February 28, 2012 13:02
It is a very real possibility that good looks, smarts, and charm will no longer be enough to pick up that special someone. Scientist have discovered that a person's smell might soon be added to that list, although not necessarily in the way you might think, and it could impact in your ability to pick up dates and your choice in mates.
Investigators have been establishing links between human beings and the fact that we may release pheromones. Human pheromones consist of a strikingly complex set of scents when compared to other animals.
Almost all organisms such as plants, animals and bacteria release pheromones for a multitude of purposes. Pheromones don't necessarily have to be for sex. Ants have been known to release pheromones to attract other ants to resources like food. Pheromones were named in 1959 by biochemist Peter Karlson and entomologist Martin Lüscher. Their work was concerned with insects, whose pheromones are better understood than our own.
The word "pheromone" derives from the Greek roots of "pherin" to transfer, and "hormone" to excite. Pheromones are classified based on their function, and trigger social response.
The two main categories consist of Primers, which illicit gradual behavioral and/or physiological change, and Releasers, which cause a behavioral response of some kind ranging from alert and survival to excited and sexually aroused.
Glands throughout the body release them, although recently there has been an emphasis on examination of the armpits of human beings.
Pheromones in human beings have been shown to demonstrate multiple effects. According to a study by Michael K. Russell of the University of California San Francisco, pheromones released from the breasts of mothers of new born children supposedly release an identifying odor that is picked up by new born babies.
Bettina Pause, a psychologist at Heinrich Heine University of Düsseldorf, also discovered that people could sense alarm odors and pheromones from another person's perspiration.
While this is all interesting on the science-side, this discovery also affects the typical person's love life.
Currently, there are men and women's fragrances on the market that contain pheromones, advertising the enhanced attractiveness. The actual ability of this product to work is unproven, but it's very likely that these products are not as effective as advertised.
An understanding of the complex formula of pheromones that have been stipulated to be released from the human body could show how much of our choice in mates is conscious and how much of it is unconscious behind the scenes biological forces.
Luis Ramos, a junior at Baruch, commented, "I would say yes, because since [people's] personalities are different, the pheromones that we can release are unique and can change based on our moods hence it can affect our choices on mates."
Adam Alifaraga, a senior at Baruch offered his thoughts on the subject of pheromone influence on people. "I haven't heard of any evidence supporting those findings. What I do believe is that the basic idea underlying how one chooses his/her spouse is an evolutionary remnant where we choose our partners for basically what they offer and what we can offer to them. I'd love to see some papers supporting the whole pheromone hypothesis."