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  • Addiction, Drugs
  • Information from Lay-Language Summaries is Embargoed Until the Conclusion of the Scientific Presentation

    655—Social Behavior: Regulatory Factors

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

    655.19: Dissociation of autonomic responses from evaluation of male faces in women exposed to androstadienone

    Location: Halls B-H

    ">*N. R. REYNOLDS1, R. L. LLOYD2;
    1Argosy Univ., Cloquet, MN; 2Psychology, Univ. of MInneesota Duluth, Duluth, MN

    Abstract Body: Male armpit sweat will advance the onset of a woman’s LH secretion, reduce tension, and increase relaxation (Preti et al, 2003). In addition, the amount of time spent in the presence of men is increased by such exposure. Androstadienone (AND) selectively increases alertness and mood in women. Additionally, exposure to AND results in higher levels of cortisol and increased sexual arousal in women, while selectively activating the ventromedial hypothalamus and pre-optic area (Savic, Berglund, Lindstrom, 2005). In a speed-dating paradigm, exposure to AND was associated with higher attractiveness ratings of the male counterparts (Saxton et al, 2008). Furthermore, mid-cycle, women are attracted to more masculine faces (Johnston et al, 2001), and ratings of older male faces increase, while those of younger male faces decline (Lloyd & Elg, 2007).
    The present study asks whether the increase in attractiveness ratings in the study by Saxon et al was visually mediated, as suggested by the studies of Johnston and Lloyd. Women were asked to rate the attractiveness of a set of 20 photos of male faces on two occasions. Once when exposed to AND (5mg/5ml propylene glycol) placed on the subject’s upper lip with a cotton swab, and once when exposed only to vehicle (propylene glycol). At each of the two assessments, autonomic nervous system measures were taken: blood pressure, pulse, SpO2, respirations, along with salivary cortisol samples (currently under analysis). Although respiration (p=0.012) and systolic blood pressure (p=0.003) were significantly elevated, facial ratings were unaffected. Furthermore, changes in mean ratings by individual women were uncorrelated with changes in either respiration or systole.
    The elevations in these autonomic measures, in the absence of an effect upon visual evaluation of the faces, indicates that the exposure to AND was sufficient for a physiological response (possibly reflecting sexual arousal), and suggests that the elevation in attractiveness reported in previous investigations was not visually mediated. While controversial, these findings point to the VNO, the classical olfactory pathway, or both, as the functional pathway(s) for these autonomic effects.

    Lay Language Summary: Over the last several decades the science of pheromones and mate attraction has been a source of fierce debate between those who believe that pheromones have the ability to influence mate selection, and those who believe that, while pheromones exist, they do nothing to influence mating strategies or preferences. As of late, the focus of the debate has been over the organ which is said to detect pheromones, the vomero nasal organ (VNO), also called Jacobson’s organ (Located on the septum wall of the nose). Historically, the olfactory epithelium has been thought to detect airborne molecules which we “smell,” while the VNO has been thought to detect the heavier pheromone molecules. Newly published research suggesting the classical olfactory system (smell) perceives such pheromones. The nasal mucosa and the VNO communicate with parallel structures, the Primary Olfactory Bulb and the Accessory Olfactory Bulb, respectively. In turn, both of these latter structures communicate with the Amygdala, a primary structure of the Limbic System, which regulates emotionality and species specific social behavior. Previous research (Roberts, 2005) has established that exposure to androstadienone (AND) has considerable influence on women, including: the timing of their menstrual cycle, how attractive they find males, relaxed mood, and sexual arousal. Additional research suggests that men find the faces of females more attractive when fertile, in contrast to the days in their cycle when they are not able to conceive. This phenomenon in men suggests a visual component to the change in male attractiveness which is observed in women exposed to pheromones.
    The present study asks whether the increase in male attractiveness, reported by Roberts (2005) in women exposed to AND, was mediated by a change in visual perception, as suggested by the studies of Johnston and of Lloyd, where the facial attractiveness of men is affected by the menstrual cycle. While an analysis of the research results uncovered significant effects of AND upon various autonomic measures (body responses not controlled consciously or voluntarily, such as blood pressure and respirations), AND did not affect the attractiveness ratings of male faces. This disassociation suggests that the changes in the attractiveness ratings produced by AND which were reported by Roberts were not visually mediated. Our data suggest that the change in attractiveness reported by Roberts was the result of bodily arousal, not a change in visual perception. The effects of AND in our study and the Roberts study may have been mediated by the VNO, the classical olfactory pathway, or both.
    The message to take away from this study is this: exposure to pheromones may influence the mechanisms which regulate the evaluation of a potential mate. Although the functionality of the human VNO has been challenged, the disregard of the effects of pheromones may be premature.

    Information from Lay-Language Summaries is Embargoed Until the Conclusion of the Scientific Presentation

    655—Social Behavior: Regulatory Factors

    Tuesday, November 12, 2013, 1:00 pm - 5:00 pm

    655.19: Dissociation of autonomic responses from evaluation of male faces in women exposed to androstadienone

    Location: Halls B-H

    ">*N. R. REYNOLDS1, R. L. LLOYD2;
    1Argosy Univ., Cloquet, MN; 2Psychology, Univ. of MInneesota Duluth, Duluth, MN

    Abstract Body: Male armpit sweat will advance the onset of a woman’s LH secretion, reduce tension, and increase relaxation (Preti et al, 2003). In addition, the amount of time spent in the presence of men is increased by such exposure. Androstadienone (AND) selectively increases alertness and mood in women. Additionally, exposure to AND results in higher levels of cortisol and increased sexual arousal in women, while selectively activating the ventromedial hypothalamus and pre-optic area (Savic, Berglund, Lindstrom, 2005). In a speed-dating paradigm, exposure to AND was associated with higher attractiveness ratings of the male counterparts (Saxton et al, 2008). Furthermore, mid-cycle, women are attracted to more masculine faces (Johnston et al, 2001), and ratings of older male faces increase, while those of younger male faces decline (Lloyd & Elg, 2007).
    The present study asks whether the increase in attractiveness ratings in the study by Saxon et al was visually mediated, as suggested by the studies of Johnston and Lloyd. Women were asked to rate the attractiveness of a set of 20 photos of male faces on two occasions. Once when exposed to AND (5mg/5ml propylene glycol) placed on the subject’s upper lip with a cotton swab, and once when exposed only to vehicle (propylene glycol). At each of the two assessments, autonomic nervous system measures were taken: blood pressure, pulse, SpO2, respirations, along with salivary cortisol samples (currently under analysis). Although respiration (p=0.012) and systolic blood pressure (p=0.003) were significantly elevated, facial ratings were unaffected. Furthermore, changes in mean ratings by individual women were uncorrelated with changes in either respiration or systole.
    The elevations in these autonomic measures, in the absence of an effect upon visual evaluation of the faces, indicates that the exposure to AND was sufficient for a physiological response (possibly reflecting sexual arousal), and suggests that the elevation in attractiveness reported in previous investigations was not visually mediated. While controversial, these findings point to the VNO, the classical olfactory pathway, or both, as the functional pathway(s) for these autonomic effects.

    Lay Language Summary: Over the last several decades the science of pheromones and mate attraction has been a source of fierce debate between those who believe that pheromones have the ability to influence mate selection, and those who believe that, while pheromones exist, they do nothing to influence mating strategies or preferences. As of late, the focus of the debate has been over the organ which is said to detect pheromones, the vomero nasal organ (VNO), also called Jacobson’s organ (Located on the septum wall of the nose). Historically, the olfactory epithelium has been thought to detect airborne molecules which we “smell,” while the VNO has been thought to detect the heavier pheromone molecules. Newly published research suggesting the classical olfactory system (smell) perceives such pheromones. The nasal mucosa and the VNO communicate with parallel structures, the Primary Olfactory Bulb and the Accessory Olfactory Bulb, respectively. In turn, both of these latter structures communicate with the Amygdala, a primary structure of the Limbic System, which regulates emotionality and species specific social behavior. Previous research (Roberts, 2005) has established that exposure to androstadienone (AND) has considerable influence on women, including: the timing of their menstrual cycle, how attractive they find males, relaxed mood, and sexual arousal. Additional research suggests that men find the faces of females more attractive when fertile, in contrast to the days in their cycle when they are not able to conceive. This phenomenon in men suggests a visual component to the change in male attractiveness which is observed in women exposed to pheromones.
    The present study asks whether the increase in male attractiveness, reported by Roberts (2005) in women exposed to AND, was mediated by a change in visual perception, as suggested by the studies of Johnston and of Lloyd, where the facial attractiveness of men is affected by the menstrual cycle. While an analysis of the research results uncovered significant effects of AND upon various autonomic measures (body responses not controlled consciously or voluntarily, such as blood pressure and respirations), AND did not affect the attractiveness ratings of male faces. This disassociation suggests that the changes in the attractiveness ratings produced by AND which were reported by Roberts were not visually mediated. Our data suggest that the change in attractiveness reported by Roberts was the result of bodily arousal, not a change in visual perception. The effects of AND in our study and the Roberts study may have been mediated by the VNO, the classical olfactory pathway, or both.
    The message to take away from this study is this: exposure to pheromones may influence the mechanisms which regulate the evaluation of a potential mate. Although the functionality of the human VNO has been challenged, the disregard of the effects of pheromones may be premature.