Perhaps one of the first things you learned in kindergarten was that you had five senses: sight, taste, smell, hearing, and touch. But the actual number is probably way more than that, maybe in the 30s. And there’s a whole lot we don’t know about the senses that we do have.
There are some things we can all agree on. For instance: the fact that shit smells bad. There are some contrarians out there—fetishists, middle school class clowns, etc.—but for the most part this issue transcends the usual divisions.
Watch a dog sniff its way around town, smelling grass, fire hydrants and butts along the way. You might think “wow, I’ll never be able to do that.” But why not? Have you even tried?
Whenever you say a color name, you’re referring to specific properties of light waves. Sounds work the same way, but with properties of compression waves. But what about smell? With all of the different scented chemicals out there and their complex interactions, it’s been impossible to create a simple scale to…
I was never a pillowcase kid. Fill the sheets that I put my head on with the goods, risking an errant Mr. Goodbar besmirching my sleeping quarters? No thanks. Besides, a pillowcase would need to go in the wash eventually. My plastic pumpkin was a dedicated trick-or-treating device. And somehow, it managed to stay…
There’s a rumor flying around the internet about a Hawaiian mushroom whose scent gives women orgasms. I’m sorry to disappoint, but there’s absolutely no credible evidence to support that claim.
Losing your sense of smell takes away more than scents and flavours – it can fundamentally change the way you relate to other people.
Smells are really good at stirring up memories, especially ones from adolescence. Which is curious, because these memories are often the hardest to access. In the latest episode of SciShow, Hank Green reviews some of the research on why smells are such potent triggers of early memories.
The sensory chaos of battle has always posed a challenge to armies hoping to prepare for—and recover from—war. And while it’s clear to most people how sight and sound factor into a soldier’s experience and memory of battle, the smells of combat were, for most of history, largely ignored. But by the eve of the 20th…
When you're hacking your way through a sweltering jungle in virtual reality, wouldn't you like to feel as disgustingly hot and humid as your video game character? To smell that distinctive jungle scent? No? Then you'd sure as hell better not pay $250 for the Feelreal this summer.
Dogs have an extraordinary sense of smell—a complex nasal architecture that lets them pick up scents and distinguish the chemical composition of hormones released by other animals. Alexandra Horowitz explains how this happens in an interesting TedEd lesson. Check it out:
Now we've gotten closer than ever to a comet in space, we can start answering serous scientific questions, like... err, what such a thing smells like?
It's easy to notice on a street corner, but hard to track as you navigate an entire city: smell, despite being a crucial stimulus, is much harder to quantify than other sensory cues like sound or light. But that hasn't stopped Kate McLean from trying.
If you've ever had a dog that was a particularly finicky eater or marveled at just how appetizing they seem to find those endless bowls of kibble, you've probably wondered: Just how sensitive is a dog's sense of taste?
Why do armpits smell so bad? Well, those millions of bacteria have to live somewhere.
Common wisdom holds that smell is the least important sense for our species. But that conclusion may be flawed because we've ignored non-Western cultures. New research on a small tribe in southern Thailand challenges that assumption.
There is an oft-referenced factoid, reproduced everywhere from websites to textbooks, that the human nose can distinguish between 10,000 smells. But a recent investigation has revealed this under-investigated figure to be off. Like way, way, way off.
"The human sense of smell is far better at guiding us through our everyday lives than we give it credit for," said cognitive neuroscientist Johan Lundström. He was referring to what he and a research team just discovered, which is that humans can actually tell how much fat is in their food just by smelling it.
Think back to when you were a child visiting your grandparent's home. Do you recall a distinct scent when you walked through the door? Many people do and it turns out, it's not just in your head.