A Secret Sense

411 Words2 Pages
I am writing in response to “A Secret Sense in the Human Nose: Sniffing Out Social and Sexual Signals” by Maya Pines. The article starts off by, introducing a set of previously misunderstood organs located in the nasal passages of mammals. Maya Pines describes the vomeronasal organs as an "accessory olfactory system.” The organs function is to collect and process chemical signals independent of the olfactory system. Using lab mice as an example, researchers have discovered a few of the possible unconscious responses caused by the vomeronasal organs. Using otherwise undetectable chemicals, the researchers signaled the rat’s “accessory olfactory system,” to sidestep cognition in order to influence the rodents to perform behaviors ranging from acts of aggression to sexual intercourse. The story ends by comparing the olfactory cells of lab rats to those in humans. The part of Pine’s Article I found most interesting was the way the vomeronasal organs can affect the rat’s behavior without filtering through the rodent’s cerebral cortex. The animal’s react to the stimulus without conscience thought. If, as the article implies, humans are subject to similar chemical influences, there may answers to common questions like, “why am I attracted to … .?,” or “what is it about ….. I just don’t like?” The idea that we all may react to chemical signals to mate or fight without thinking, raises some social concerns. It opens the door for a myriad of inappropriate physiological responses. It may be a hard sell to a future human resources director that I was, “unconsciously reacting to a coworker’s chemistry.” The idea of a direct link to the brain also raises important theological concerns. For many believers, a strict code of conduct is incorporated in their religious practice. The conflict of course: regardless of their convictions, humans are equally subject to this form
Open Document