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  1. #1
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    Quarry's Avatar
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    Default Nature or Nurture: What influences you?

    Studies have found a pattern between women's scent preferences and major histocompatibility complex (MHC) genetics. In other words, women can unknowingly detect genetic compatibility traits by scent. Here are links to easy-read synopses.

    http://www.varsity.cam.ac.uk/index.p...&Itemid=27
    http://beheco.oxfordjournals.org/cgi...tract/14/5/668

    However much marketing plays into fragrance sales, I believe scent preferences are predominantly preprogrammed--nature over nurture.

    Okay, class, debate...
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  2. #2

    Default Re: Nature or Nurture: What influences you?

    I would say nurture mostly because I love scents nowadays that had put me in a state of euphoria when I was kid. *For example: *My buddy next door to me had an older sister who would come over once in a while and she would wear this perfume that smelled like a rose, nothing too fancy or expensive but just a straight forward rose scent. *Well as you can imagine those boyhood fantasies get intermingled with the olfactory memories and Blammo! you got a rose frag junkie.
    As far as the MHC genes, that stuff sounds a little too much like naturopathic research and probably not taken seriously. *Although there could be some truth to it, but I think there are way more important factors in choosing mates other than white blood cells that we consciously implement or even sub-consciously.
    Also differing alleles don't necessarily mean the offspring will have both varieties. *There are many different ways of developing genetic mutations. *Also if the other person has deficiencies (albeit different) in their MHC, wouldn't that be a "bad" choice for evolution of the genes? *
    The "lets try and sound overly scientific" article was definitely not written by anyone with a solid science background because one of the first things you learn in writing a scientific article or paper is to define your terms and give the reader something interesting to read. *The other article is obviously only for entertaining reading only.

    Oh yeah some more supporting evidence for nurture.
    Do you still like the scent of an ex-psycho? I didn't think so
    Olfactory sensations are closely connected to memories and memories are based upon outside forces i.e. nurture.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Nature or Nurture: What influences you?

    That is very interesting whether it's true or not. . . I don't really know what to think of that, really. I know I personally have very specific preferences when it comes to how the opposite sex smells. . . but I don't really know why. What does interest me is that different people really do smell different. Well it's not just people either. Animals too. My two dogs smell different and I remember the dog I used to have also had his distinct smell. I don't really get to go around smelling every person I come in contact with, but just from getting to smell some people it really is surprising how people can smell different. Hmm maybe I shouldn't have admitted here that I like to smell people and animals, is that weird? :-[

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Nature or Nurture: What influences you?

    Ah, but consider ...

    If that favorite gal smelled of, say, gasoline from her dad's filling station, you might get nostalgic over the smell of gas, but you wouldn't add it to your fragrance wardrobe.

    Nurture has "wiggle room" within our nature, but flowers and fruits attract us for primal reasons, just as putrid meat and bodily discharges register a "don't touch" signal.

    I love your challenge, Noseorgy. Of course, so much of this discussion is purely academic, but isn't it fun to consider how our biochemical individuality is influenced? I hope more people will contribute what they've observed about their nose/brain functions.
    In a world where 6 million people are added each month, every landscape matters.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Nature or Nurture: What influences you?

    Quote Originally Posted by Quarry
    Ah, but consider ...

    If that favorite gal smelled of, say, gasoline from her dad's filling station, you might get nostalgic over the smell of gas, but you wouldn't add it to your fragrance wardrobe.
    I think I might be a little reluctant to believe this after hearing about Santa Maria Novella's Nostalgic frag. That has petrol notes in it. Gasoline is a pretty pungent scent to begin with but some people like it. Gasoline scent memories, like hot rods and cruising etc... might be good but me personally I wouldn't dare use it as a frag.
    The smell of gasoline on human skin is disgusting after it dries down.

    You are right about nature'scents causing differing reactions such as flowers or putrid meat. The chemical in decaying organisms, I forget what it is called, is made to be extrememly pungent and repulsive. I don't think it matters how your chemistry is for that, but I could be wrong.
    Again like most things in life it is probably a mixture of both nature and nurture. You can never really truly isolate either one, at least not ethically.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Nature or Nurture: What influences you?

    While I believe there is a biological component to scent preference and discrimination, I also see nurture playing a heavy role about scent preferences in adults because scents filter through our experiences with the whole good/bad smell matrix at risk for reassortment in our sense memory. Oranges and cardamom combined make me happy because it's the smell I associate with childhood Christmases. But to this day the smell of cheap Gallo "burgandy" makes me ill because I still associate it with the first time I got seriously plastered at a high school theatre party.

    Maybe in our more primitive ancestors nature played a larger role in mate selection/preference but these days it's more often the cut of the suit jacket or lack thereof that triggers the provider/protector/breeding-stock gotta-get-me-some impulse.


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