Human Pheromones and Face Preferences

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: March 27, 2010

It has been repeatedly suggested by many others that we are primarily visual creatures. This suggestion distances us from what is known about molecular biology across species. For example, pheromones activate genes in hormone-secreting cells of tissue in the brain. The brain directs behavior. What effect on the brain motivates us when we see food, or a potential mate? Sex differences in food preferences have not been detailed. What pathway links what we see to the sex differences in perception that allow most women and men to exhibit a heterosexual response?
Biometric Evidence that Sexual Selection Has Shaped the Hominin Face begs the question of what stimuli are most important to sexual selection across species. Human preferences for visually perceived facial and other physical features appear to have evolved via their association with olfactory/pheromonal cues (e.g., human pheromones). The evolved neurophysiological mechanism that links human pheromones to food choice and mate choice can be traced back to single celled organisms. In contrast, no known mechanism allows visual input to influence sexual selection in other species. Obviously, other species rely first and foremost on olfactory/pheromonal cues. Sexual selection must start somewhere for it to shape face preferences. If, as indicated by all current knowledge of cause and effect, pheromones are responsible for sexual selection in every other species, why are we told that what we see is most important to our mate choice?

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