Sunday, January 20, 2008

Pentagon researching "fear" bombs

American military researchers are working to uncover and harness chemicals that would illicit fear. Pheromones are chemicals released by animals as signals for sex, for territorial marking etc. . But there's more to pheromones than attraction. Many animals have an alarm pheromone which is used to signal danger. Now, the US Army is trying to track down and harness people's smell of fear. The military has backed a study on the "Identification and Isolation of Human Alarm Pheromones," which "focused on the Preliminary Identification of Steroids of Interest in Human Fear Sweat. Researchers have suggested that the human alarm pheromone could lead to chemical fear-sensors. Pheromones are effective in minute quantities, so a wide area can be blanketed with just a few liters. Given sufficient concentration, it is possible that people could be effected. The added effect however is the contagious aspect, meaning that those affected might start churning out fear pheromone as well. On its own, the alarm pheromone probably would not do much. But given an external trigger, such as a loud noise, it could influence people. Previous implementation has not been successful though. Remember the so-called "Gay Bomb," that would make enemy combatants irresistibly attracted to one another? The mechanics are still unclear however research is likely to uncover some novel and powerful ways of manipulating human behavior.

submitted from Wired by Shaun A. Saunders

5 comments:

Shaun said...

So, not only do we have oxytocin, to make us trusting, now we're singling out the chemicals that make us fearful...a brave new world of Big Brother chemically 'managing' approach/avoidance responses...

'Come here citizen, and trust me...now, citizen, you must fear me...'

Beam Me Up said...

Jesus Shaun, can you get any blacker?!!! If that isn't a quote, it damn well should be!

Shaun said...

Paul, how can you not look at it that way...past history and performance is the best predictor of future behaviour...(and free to quote :-) )

Paul said...

Shaun: Oh I know, your right, in every respect! It was just that it was such a bleak and black statement that all I could think of was Oh christ shoot me now and get it over with! lol

Shaun said...

LOLLOL!!!

Paul, in my fiction, (to paraphrase Bradbury)I aim to prevent, not predict...so, the greater the awareness, the lower the eventual likelihood (unless a majority disagrees with us, in which case, yes, consider other exit strategies!)