[Paleopsych] What's the survival value ofposttraumaticstressdisorder?

Alice Andrews andrewsa at newpaltz.edu
Tue May 17 11:38:06 UTC 2005

Hi Jim, That makes absolutely perfect 
sense to me.
I was just yesterday talking to a 
friend who is quite 'addicted' to her 
fairly emotionally abusive boyfriend; 
much of what she will say about why 
she can't just be with a 'nice guy' 
has a lot to do with the way this man 
smells....Unfortunately, I too have 
this 'problem'. I suggested to her 
that the smell we might happen to like 
is a combination of high testosterone 
and some other personality traits --  
that we are able to smell BPD, 
narcissism, etc.(And not just PDs but 
mental disorders such as bipolar, 
too.) It would be quite an interesting 
study to look at the Big-5 and see if 
there are pheromonal 
correlations...But anyway, back to 
associations and conditioning (which 
is relevant to your point re rape):
The first man I fell madly in love 
with was probably borderline (BPD) and 
a narcissist...And the few men after 
him who smelled like him, well, I had 
similar responses. My big query about 
that has been: Is the huge attraction 
to the scent something essential, i.e. 
about 'matching' immune systems and 
personalities, about desiring 
something rare/special, about desiring 
something disordered, about desiring 
something that shows fitness, etc 
etc...? Or is it just that I happened 
to have fallen in love with a man who 
happened to have had these particular 
characteritics and smell, and now I'm 
locked into it by association? Or a 
little of both?  I realize this is a 
lot to share with Paleo..But I figure 
everyone can handle it!

Also: Three years ago we corresponded 
about love and pheromones and I got 
your permission to post/share your 
responses on EP-yahoo. I'm pasting 
here because it's pretty interesting. 
And exactly a year ago I wrote you an 
email re the above question re 
personality and pheromones. I no 
longer have that email, but I do have 
your response. Here's some of it... I 
figure it's okay to share:

All the best!

Alice Andrews wrote:

Is there any evidence to suggest that 
particular odors are signals
of particular personalities? Certainly 
high testosterone and these
pheromones and personality must be 
linked, no?Yes. Also, since stress 
increases cortisol, which decreases 
testosterone, a confident man's
pheromone production would be 
indicative of reproductive fitness. 
You know the type; acts
like he owns the joint, presents as an 
alpha male, attracts most of the 

 The three men who share this
particular scent (musky, musty, almost 
like mildew) all have similar
personalities...Somewhat 'disordered' 
(a little boderline, narcissistic,
schizoid, etc.)
I'd be curious to know if there is 
anything out there on any correlation. 
have not found yet.)Watch out for the 
schizoid. DHEA production varies and 
so does the natural body odor of
schizophrenics. In homosexual males 
it's the ratio of androsterone to 
etiocholanolone, which
are the primary metabolites of DHEA. 
Homosexuals prefer the odor of other 
homosexuals (this
will be published later this year by 

was wondering if there's any 
literature on (or talk of) female 
pheromones at ovulation
having the capability to alter or 
inhibit or increase a particular type 
of sperm-one that
is more likely to impregnate?

The egg has been described as an 
active sperm-catcher; pretty sure we 
cited this in my
book, but
no info I've seen indicates pheromonal 
effects on type of sperm. This is an 
nonetheless. I hope you follow up with 
your inquiry to other experts. 
Pheromone receptors
are present on sperm cells (presumably 
to guide them to the egg).

If such a sperm is more 'costly' in 
some way to manufacture, it would make 
sense that a
man would 'conserve' most 'fertile,' 
'viable,' 'healthy'
sperm for when female was at her most 
fertile. Or perhaps it is just as 
simple as: when a
man detects pheromones most (or likes 
them most), he is
most turned on and produces MORE 
semen, thus more chance for 
fertilization to occur. And
perhaps more normal sperm cells are 
present? Any

The literature I've seen indicates a 
continuum of sperm production based on 
ratios of
luteinizing hormone
(LH) and follicle stimulating hormone 
(FSH), with FSH being largely 
responsible for
development. However, it
is an LH surge that accompanies both 
ovulation in women, and a testosterone 
increase in
men exposure to
ovulatory women's pheromones 
(copulins). There is also some 
literature (Sperm Wars) that
mentions increased
aniticipatory volume of semen, but no 
indications of sperm quality as I 

Sorry I can't be of more help, (read 
that your book got Jim Brody's 
approval, congrats!)



I sometimes wonder if the feelings of 
Love during conception could possibly 
alter the
quality of sperm, too...
etc in woman feeling love during 
(copulins) pheromones (type or 
affect sperm quality???
And/or 'love chemicals' in men simply 
affecting sperm quality etc....??? 

A possibility, since many if not all 
neuronal systems feedback on
the gonadotropin releasing hormone 
neuronal system, which drives
everything about reproduction (and, of 
course, is directly affected
by pheromones.) An example: increasing 
estrogen levels are linked
to increased oxytocin release with 
orgasm in women. If oxytocin also
increased with testosterone, bonding 
would be facilitated. Perhaps
the bonding mechanism influences 
fertility. Or maybe something so
simple as the immune system functions 
of paired mates adjusting to
the ongoing presence of a mate, 
facilitating conception via immune
system interaction with sperm 
production. Much to think about; more
to study.


  ----- Original Message ----- 
  From: JV Kohl
  To: Alice Andrews ; The new improved 
paleopsych list
  Sent: Tuesday, May 17, 2005 12:24 AM
  Subject: Re: [Paleopsych] What's the 
survival value 

  I've long thought that the link 
between PTSD and rape is olfactory. 
War vets response triggered by smoke;
  women's response triggered by the 
natural scent of a man--or event 
associated odors: alcohol, etc. The 
  scent of a man can evoke chemical 
changes in reproductive hormone 
levels, which would also affect 
  The association with natural 
masculine scent is most likely to 
alter intimacy with a rape victim's 
loving spouse/lover.
  She will respond to him, 
unfortunately, as her traumatized body 
responded to the rape.

  I wonder how much you've heard, read 
about the olfactory connection--and 
how much validity you think
  there is to it.

  Jim Kohl

  Alice Andrews wrote:

    Steve wrote:
      Her chemistry will change, and 
depending on where she is 
developmentally (her life-history), 
her personality may actually change! 
(Pre, say, 25 years of age).
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