Wow. This ad for “Athena Pheromones” definitely caught my eye in Stanford Magazine in the September-October 2010 issue. So I decided to scan it in and share.
The whole thing is, sadly, pretty lame actually. These “pheromones” come from the Athena Institute, which they say was started by Winnifred Cutler who was a post doc at Stanford. They claim, on their web site and in this ad, that she “Co-discovered human pheromones in 1986” and use this to I guess imply that whatever potions they sell must therefore work the way they claim.
Sure, the claims they make for what the potions they sell are not as outrageous as many things relating to sexual interactions. In fact, they are pretty tame:
- But 10X does this with the special power of human pheromones.
- Men who used 10X in their aftershave experienced increased romantic attention and affectionate behavior from women.
- Some men report 10X improves their business relationships.
But what annoys me about this is the attempt to use science smoke and mirrors to support the claims. As far as I can tell, they are using a series of tricks to make you think that this stuff really works.
First, they seem to be overinflating the scientific credentials of the founder of the company. Sure she seems like she might be a decent scientist. But they give her credit for the discovery of human pheromones. And the evidence for this discovery is a bunch of news coverage from 1986. But it seems from looking at the literature, not too many other scientists refer to these papers as having discovered human pheromones. So my guess is one creatively written press release led to a lot of press and now, 24 years later they are still trying to ride the wave of publicity from the news coverage.
They must hope that we make the following connections (1) founder is a pioneer in scientific studies of human pheromones (2) they have shown that some human pheromones really have effects (3) they sell vials supposedly with human pheromones -> therefore anyone interested in attracting more “mates” should buy the vials, since they must work.
2 thoughts on “Stanford Magazine and a veneer of science: helping the world buy "human pheromones"”
Does that mean that when humans smell pheromones, we act like love-crazed tom-cats ready to pounce on any member of the opposite sex that happens to be nearby?
Normally I don't allow ad posting in comments … but people selling human pheromones … I am going to let that through for at least a bit