Pheromones as a Social Learning Accelerant
  • Pretty much anyone who has ever involved themselves in personal development has encountered a nagging problem: no matter how different you feel on your own, being around people who know the "old you" still reliably pushes you back into your old patterns of perception and behavior. People treat you in ways that presuppose responses which are congruent with the persona you have shown them.

    In many cases, it is not even necessary to be around people you have known before. Simply engaging in a social situation triggers you to enact your own most familiar and automatic patterns of responding. It's what Robert Cialdini calls a "click, whirr" response, and what NLP describes as a set of unconscious anchors.

    Pheromones have the potential to alter this type of conditioned social responding through two pathways:
    • Self-effects: Provided that the signals are not too foreign to be incorporated, the changes in one's own chemistry can produce feelings and action tendencies that are congruent with the type of person who would have produced the artificial chemical signature. This makes it easier to act in new ways, and so to dehabituate the ingrained patterns of responding.
    • Other-effects: By altering the perceptions and expectations of those around us, pheromones produce a situation in which congruent behavioral patterns are reinforced by the people around us. We are all profoundly influenced by the ongoing social feedback we receive from the people around us, and changing the nature of that feedback again makes it possible to have new social experiences of a type congruent with the pheromone signature being worn.

    Combined, these experiences may be able to effectively "break the spell" of personality, allowing you to experience the persona you have maintained up to the present as merely one set of possibilities, chosen largely at random out of the nearly limitless potential of your unique genetic configuration.

    The question, then, speaks to recent conversations on the forum about enhancing your strengths versus compensating for your weaknesses. Which pheromone combinations will offer you the best chance to enhance your social experience in ways that support a tendency to grow into a better and more flexible person?

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