Wikipedia comments by James V. Kohl

By: James V. Kohl | Published on: March 7, 2011

I’ve culled these comments from wikipedia as a means to collect some of my thoughts. If ever I can determine how to get permission to edit the wikipedia pages, I will update the information there.

Definition: In 1959, pheromones were originally defined as “…substances which are secreted to the outside by an individual and received by a second individual of the same species, in which they release a specific reaction, for example, a definite behavior or a developmental process.” Karlson and Luscher. We now know that pheromones can only release a definite behavior that is organized by a developmental process. The developmental process is hormone-mediated, and pheromones cause changes in the levels of hormones that mediate the developmental process. By causing changes in these hormones, pheromones elicit behavioral affects in species from insects to mammals.Jvkohl (talk) 03:42, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

Human Pheromones: The fact that human pheromones exist is made obvious by the fact that pheromones exist in all species that sexually reproduce. There is no more need to verify that a particular chemical or mixture of chemicals act as human pheromones, than there is to verify that particular food odors stimulate appetite. In this regard, my colleague Richard L. Doty misrepresents my original concept of pheromones when he indicates it infers “… that a plurality of mammalian behaviors and endocrine responses is uniquely determined in an invariant way by single or small sets of chemical stimuli….” (p. 3) of “The Great Pheromone Myth”. Is any response to food odor uniquely determined in an invariant way by single or small sets of chemicals in food? Is any response to any sensory stimulus uniquely determined in an invariant way by anything? Take some time to think, please.

Products: Now, about those published papers by authors who have launched products that are available over the internet. I am one of them. My award-winning 2001 Neuroendocrinology Letters article with colleagues from Vienna has already been cited. Here’s information on another published article, which is also a book chapter.

Expertise: James V. Kohl received the Ira and Harriet Reiss Theory Award for 2007 from the Foundation for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (FSSS). The award is given annually for the best social science article, chapter, or book published in the previous year in which theoretical explanations of human sexual attitudes and behaviors are developed. “The Mind’s Eyes: Human Pheromones, Neuroscience, and Male Sexual Preferences” was published in the Journal of Psychology & Human Sexuality, 18(4): 313-369, and concurrently published as a book chapter in the “Handbook of the Evolution of Human Sexuality.” In conjunction with the award, Kohl was an invited plenary session speaker at the annual meeting of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality (SSSS) in November, 2007, which was held in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Study Results: I’m not going to edit the information about pheromones because someone would undoubtedly remove what I had written and claim that my commercial interests invalidated my edit. If no other scientists/researchers come forward, it seems likely that there will be no expert information available on this topic in Wikipedia — at least not anytime soon. If our results are replicated that show increased flirtatious behavior and self-reported level of attraction in women exposed to our disclosed mixture, perhaps someone else will take up the cause and present the latest findings. Until then, the attitude here on the talk page seems a bit repressive, albeit understandably so. I don’t like what the marketers have done to the concept, either. But I have not abandoned the concept, and will continue to accurately portray it via other venues. Jvkohl (talk) 03:34, 21 December 2010 (UTC)

‘Effect’ and ‘affect’: Many people seem unaware of the difference between effect and affect with regard to pheromones. For example, correctly stated mammalian pheromones effect hormones that affect behavior. This statement is based the fact that “The interaction between sensory input and hormonal levels appears to be a general rule in endocrine relationships underlying behavior.” Jvkohl (talk) 17:55, 22 November 2010 (UTC) [1]

Effectiveness: The preceding link is to an article with abstract “…there is no support in data for the claim that the substances increase the attractiveness of the wearers…” that debunks research the Athena Institute uses in their marketing claim: “Effective for 74% in 8 week published scientific study.” –Cycle World, June 2010. I am an expert on this topic, and someone has already posted a link to my award-winning 2001 review article with co-authors from Vienna. see: My 2007 journal article and book chapter also won an award, and the author’s copy has been reproduced for online availability with indexing at The concept of human pheromones that I first accurately helped to detail in the book: The Scent of Eros: Mysteries of Odor in Human Sexuality, has since been bastardized by hundreds of marketers. Simply put, human pheromones affect behavior by enhancing the appeal of the wearer. The enhanced appeal is due to the conditioning of an associated hormone response during a lifetime of exposure that begins at birth. The mixture of human pheromones that my colleagues and I have shown increases observed flirtatious behavior and self-reported levels of attraction in women, elicits these affects in a manner similar to what “make-up” does for the appeal of women. If our results are independently replicated, publication will dispel the ridiculous marketing claims of animalistic aphrodisiacal affects on human behavior. Human pheromones can help, but they can’t change your personality. Jvkohl (talk) 18:16, 17 November 2010 (UTC)

Science fiction and scientific understanding of pheromones: In his book “Darwin’s Radio” (2000, Ballantine Books) and his sequel “Darwin’s Children” (2004, Del Rey), science fiction author and novelist Greg Bear successfully predicted that human endogenous retroviruses are involved in primate speciation. His new subspecies of human being communicated with pheromones, as do other species from yeasts to non-human primates. This example of science fiction becoming fact contributes to a scientific understanding of human pheromones via a forward-thinking author’s grasp of molecular biology and his willingness to take the next logical step for his readers. Other fictional representations of human pheromones must also have some basis in fact; enough to be included on Wikipedia, if only to encourage forward-thinking by others. Indeed, in his November 2003 presentation before the American Philosophical Society, Greg Bear said: “What we [science fiction writers] write is far from authoritative, or final, but science fiction works best when it stimulates debate.”

Moving forward as he spoke about epigenetic influences, he also said that chemical signals between organisms can change genetic expression. This allows the social environment to modify genetic expression in individuals and in their offspring. A decade has passed since Bear’s conceptualization of how pheromones might exert a powerful epigenetic influence on other species and on us. Those who are familiar with current works from molecular biology can now more fully recognize that Greg Bear was at least a decade ahead of his time. To a lesser degree, so were my co-authors and I when we wrote about epigenetic influences and pheromones in 1996. The take home message that’s available through the integration of science fiction and scientific fact is that pheromones may be the most significant epigenetic influence of all. We are beginning to see this more clearly after our species sequenced the human genome and proceeds to learn more about epigenetic facts predicted by science fiction.Jvkohl (talk) 17:33, 22 November 2010 (UTC)

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