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Human Pheromones/Hormones and Behavior - Research Paper Example

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Human Pheromones and Behavior Submitted to: Dr. Laura L. Carruth, GSU, Spring 2012 Abstract: In this paper, six research articles are considered where the authors have conducted experiments to determine whether human pheromones exist, and if they do how they affect humans…
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Human Pheromones/Hormones and Behavior
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Download file to see previous pages Introduction The term pheromone was developed to describe the chemicals used to communicate between members of the same species. Since the development of this word, many examples of pheromones have been found in both animals and bacteria. Pheromones have been found to have many roles, including in courtship, trail following in ants and alerting other group members of potential danger (Wyatt, 2009). However, despite the widespread acceptance of pheromones in other species, there is considerably less research on their role-play on human behavior. One of the difficulties in determining the presence of pheromones in vertebrates is that pheromones are normally defined as producing a measurable action, such as a process or behavior. However, in vertebrates, particularly higher order species, this can be difficult to determine, as individuals exhibit a wide range of types of behavior, which tends to be heavily dependent on context (Brennan, 2010). This is especially true in humans, who exhibit complex behavioral patterns. Pheromones are strongly related to the study of the endocrine system and behavior, as they are chemicals that are believed to be produced as part of the endocrine system in humans, and they have been observed to have significant effects on behavior in other species. This paper is a literature review examining some of the recent evidence for the presence of pheromones in humans and whether these are able to cause significant and noticeable changes in behavior. This will be done by examining two types of studies, those that examine behavioral changes and those that consider changes at the physical level. It is hypothesized that the results from these studies will provide evidence that pheromones exist within humans as they do in other species, and that they have an effect on behavior. Results A behavior that is thought to be linked to pheromones in humans is the act of crying or producing tears when experiencing emotion. This response is believed to unique among humans, and has not been identified in other species. Additionally, tears that are produced as the result of emotions differ chemically from tears created for the protection of eyes. Therefore, the authors of a 2011 study argued that human tears may contain a pheromone. To determine this, the authors collected tears from women who were watching a sad film in isolation. Men were then presented with either tears or saline that had first been exposed to the same conditions as the tears and asked a range of questions. The authors determined that although participants could not tell the difference between saline and tears, there was a significant variation in the response to female faces after sniffing tears compared to saline, with tears inducing a decreased level of sexual attraction and arousal (Gelstein et al., 2011). The authors of this study used carefully planned controls to ensure the validity of their outcomes and strongly argue for the conclusions that they promote. Although the authors do not discuss alternative viewpoints, it is admittedly difficult to determine any, as the results are solid. This study is important, as the behavior of emotional crying is likely to be related in some way to pheromones, as there appears to be no practical purpose for this behavior. Perhaps the most studied potential source of human pheromones is, sweat particularly from underarm secretions as this can be ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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