by Ashley Lateef
Can certain scents make you happier? Do women or men have a better sense of smell? You might be surprised by the answers. Check out our collection of facts about your sense of smell.
You actually smell with your brain, not your nose, as you might assume. Sensory cells called chemoreceptors in the nose detect the smell and then send electrical impulses to the brain. The brain then interprets the electrical patterns as specific odors—what we recognize as smell.
Scent cells are renewed every 30 to 60 days.The olfactory nerve is the only one of the cranial nerves, a group of nerves that extend from the brain and are responsible for controlling bodily functions including eye movement, hearing, taste, and vision, that is capable of regeneration.
No two people smell things the same way because each of us has scent blind spots, meaning specific odors we can't pick up on.
Scents can cue memories. Most of your scent memories, however, come from the first decade of your life, unlike visual or other sensorial memory types.
There are fewer types of scents than you think. Some researchers hypothesize that there are only seven primary odors: musky, putrid, pungent, camphoraceous (like mothballs), ethereal (like dry cleaning fluid), floral, and minty.
Women generally have stronger sense of smell than men. One of the reasons for this may be that women have a more developed orbital prefrontal region of the brain. It may have also evolved from an ability to discern the best possible mates, or to help women better bond with and understand newborns.
You really can smell fear and happiness--at least, you can smell whether another person is happy or afraid, as long as the person you're smelling is a close romantic partner.
A fragrance you perceive as pleasant can have a profoundly positive effect on your mood. So if you love vanilla, keeping a little scented oil on your desk can help lift you when you're down. The same goes for citrus, jasmine, or any other scent that makes you feel contented.
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