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Posts Tagged "smell"

Anthropology in Practice

What would you do if you had no sense of smell?

A smelly meeting. | Photo by Tom Freidel. CC. Click on image for license and information.

No, really. What would you do? What scents would you miss the most? Freshly laundered sheets? A certain perfume or cologne worn by someone you care about? Mom/dad/Aunt Jane’s meatloaf? The roses in your garden? While I might miss my favorite perfume, I’ll tell you what I wouldn’t miss: subway body odors. But what about [...]

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Anthropology in Practice

Scent of a Woman

At seventeen I discovered the perfume that would become my signature scent. It’s a warm, rich, inviting fragrance[i] that reminds me (and hopefully others) of a rose garden in full bloom. Despite this fullness, it’s light enough to wear all day and it’s been in the background of many of my life experiences. It announces [...]

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Beautiful Minds

Can You Smell Personality?

original

First impressions matter. This may not come as much of a surprise, but just how quickly we form impressions, and which cues we use to make such rapid judgements may very much surprise you. Take the face. Superstar social psychologist Nalini Ambady (**see below) and her colleagues found that judgements of traits relating to power (competence, dominance, [...]

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Bering in Mind

Bromidrophilia: Beauty is in the Nose of the Besniffer

Close-up of a Human Nose in Side View, by Cristina Pedrazzina

“Coming home soon; don’t wash,” Napoleon Bonaparte once wrote to his wife, Joséphine. It’s unclear from this snippet of a love note if the most famous Emperor in French history had a certifiable case of bromidrophilia—a paraphilia in which the individual finds the natural body odors of attractive people to be the most arousing erotic [...]

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Bering in Mind

Armpit Psychology: The Science of Body Odor Perception

Researchers explore how other people’s smells are processed by our brains

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Brainwaves

Searching For The Elephant’s Genius Inside the Largest Brain on Land

African elephant

  Many years ago, while wandering through Amboseli National Park in Kenya, an elephant matriarch named Echo came upon the bones of her former companion Emily. Echo and her family slowed down and began to inspect the remains. They stroked Emily’s skull with their trunks, investigating every crevice; they touched her skeleton gingerly with their [...]

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Dog Spies

Put Your Nose First: Smellwalks for You and Your Dog

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There was no way I was going to miss something called a ‘Smellwalk.’ A social dilettante at heart, I revel in time spent in the mind of others — especially those who add an entirely different color to the palate of my worldview. While I think loads about the olfactory experiences of dogs, I give [...]

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Dog Spies

Make sense of scents: How to make your dog happy

She nose you know_Mark Kelly_on Dog Spies

I have good news for all of us who don’t look like Ryan Gosling or Gisele Bundchen: your dog doesn’t care. Dogs are much more interested in our smells than our looks. Just watch a dog with his head out a car window — nose forging ahead. Wind brings innumerable scent molecules directly to the [...]

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Food Matters

Can Steel Stop Garlic’s Stink?

  It took me a while to come around to garlic. Now, I find it delicious, whether powdered on pizza, fire-roasted, swirled into curries and casseroles, or chopped fresh onto french fries. So, once you’ve handled garlic, how do you get that pungent odor out of your fingertips? Mark Lorch, of Chemistry Blog and Try This at [...]

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Food Matters

Is your nose making you overeat?

Fruit flies overeat when they smell something tasty; what about you?

Some people are drawn to the thick smell of bacon, sizzling and crackling in the skillet on a Saturday morning.  For others, it’s the aroma of freshly baked cookies on a Friday night or the smell of McDonald’s fries creeping in through the car window.  At this time of year, I find the scent of [...]

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Food Matters

Introducing: The Food Matters Crew

Credit: Kathleen Raven

Do you ever wonder about the science behind your food? We do, too. Our group of writers serves up juicy topics like genetic engineering, gut bacteria and the chemical reactions that occur during cooking. Together, we’ll peer inside factory farms, dark jungles, cafeterias, laboratories and those trendy molecular gastronomy spots. Grab a bite, and sit [...]

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Guest Blog

#WSF11: The Invisible Language of Smell

When attending events, like scientific conferences, some people take copious notes with pen and paper. More and more people live-blog or live-tweet such events. But some people do something different – they live-draw the events. Perrin Ireland is an artist who does this – turning the words, sounds, sights and smells of the event into [...]

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Illusion Chasers

Neuroscience in Fiction: Proust and Pixar

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Madeleine_verso.jpg

The madeleine episode in Proust’s Swan’s Way exemplifies the power of smells and tastes to bring back memories, and has inspired research and further fiction too.

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MIND Guest Blog

Emotional Needs in Teens May Spur the Growth of New Brain Cells

Until recent decades, the brain was viewed as static. The accepted scientific view was that after early childhood few changes occurred in the connections between neurons and no new brain cells appeared. A new, dynamic model of the brain has emerged from this fixed model. This transition was marked, first by scientific acceptance of the [...]

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Not bad science

Ant Farmers – How do they do it?

I used to work in Edinburgh’s Butterfly and Insect World. While I was there, my favourite animal was not the chameleon, which changed colour when it was angry. Nor was it the royal pythons that loved human body heat, and would sometimes squeeze unnervingly tight. No, my favourite exhibit was the leafcutter ant. We had [...]

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Not bad science

Spiders sniff out humans

This is a jumping spider, and it is unusual in more ways than just its looks. The jumping spider, Evarcha culicivora, or the ‘vampire spider’ is the only animal which chooses its prey based on what the latter has just eaten: it attacks mosquitoes that have recently sucked blood, rather than other types of food.1 [...]

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Not bad science

The right smell: dogs sniff more with their right nostrils

Have you ever wondered what makes you right- or left-handed? Well, in humans and other mammals, the brain is divided down the middle, or ‘lateralized’. One of the effects of this is that people can be right-handed or left-handed (having better motor skill with one hand or the other). This is because one half of [...]

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Observations

Training Could Rescue a Failing Sense of Smell

smelling rose

Weakening eyesight can be sharpened with lenses, and impaired hearing can be improved with aids. What about a failing sense of smell? Detecting and distinguishing the floral bouquet of fresh honey or the miasma of bad lunchmeat might not seem quite as critical for day-to-day existence as sight or hearing. But what the nose knows [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Is Smell the Key to an Octopus’s Heart?

We know that octopuses have awesome visual systems and super-sensitive suckers. We have even learned that they can hear. But little scientific attention has been paid to their sense of smell. And new research suggests that the octopus’s olfactory system could play a strong role in the octopus’s life cycle—especially when it comes to mating. [...]

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Oscillator

Four Great Space Scents

titan

You don’t need your nose to know what something smells like. Perfumers and astronomers can detect and recreate scents based on the chemical signatures of the molecules in the air, even if that air is very very far away. 1. The Space Rose In 1998 the space shuttle Discovery brought a rose into orbit. With [...]

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Oscillator

Smellspace and Olfactory White

brain_odor_map

White is a mixture, made by a combination of signals at equal intensity across a perceptual space. White light can be split up into all the colors of the visible spectrum, and white noise covers a range of frequencies within the audible range. Our other senses don’t have as clearly defined ranges of perception. We [...]

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Oscillator

Smell-O-Vision

Before there was sound in movies there was smell. In 1906, a Pennsylvania movie theater soaked a wad of cotton wool in rose oil and placed it in front of a fan. When a newsreel about the Rose Bowl played, they turned on the fan and the smell of roses wafted over the theater. Audience [...]

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Streams of Consciousness

More Surprises about the Mind

kid smelling flower

Following on my last blog, here are more telling tidbits from the March/April issue of Scientific American Mind. Smelling the past. I don’t give much thought to odors, unless I have to purge one from the kitchen or car. So I had never considered the possibility that my ability to smell affects how I think [...]

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Thoughtomics

Terrestrial hermit crabs only smell their favourite snacks when water is around

Terrestrial hermit crabs love peanut snacks, but can only smell them when it's wet. Illustration Irene Goede

The Caribbean hermit crabs in Anna-Sara Krång’s laboratory are no picky eaters. They are eager to gobble down any fruit, nuts, fish or coconut flakes that comes their way. But above all else, these culinary connoisseurs prefer peanut flips. These snacks are always the first to disappear down their gullets when feeding time comes around. [...]

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