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…
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…
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?
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.
We’ve got categories to describe our perceptions of taste, colors, and sounds. But things aren’t as clear-cut when it comes to our sense of smell. Looking to overcome this surprising limitation, a team of researchers have proposed a list of 10 basic smells.
We already have white noise, and now there an equivalent for smell. Scientists in Israel believe they've identified "olfactory white", a blend of dozens of components that smells — well — totally neutral.
It's not hard to tell when you've walked into a room, or a house, in which a person is sick with with a flu or a bad cold. There's an immediate smell of stale sweat, cough medicine, and human misery. But can it be done with other diseases? According to doctors, there are some diseases, physical and mental, that can be…
Anosmia, the inability to smell, isn't as well-known as blindness or deafness, but it still affects an estimated two million people in the US. A new breakthrough has cured anosmia in mice... and the human impact could be far greater.
Astronauts may not expose their nostrils to the vacuum of space, but folks who come back from space walks report that they've brought a very distinctive odor back with them. And the space stations have their own special (and not necessarily pleasant) scents, including perfume of the Mir Space Station, which is…
Every human has limits. You can only run so fast, jump so high, and go for so long without water. But what about restrictions upon our five senses, those tools that we use to perceive and understand our surroundings? Here are ten limitations on human perception that have a direct impact on how we understand the world.
If you've ever visited Old Faithful and the other geysers at Yellowstone National Park, you've likely come away with two reactions. First, it's one of the most captivating sights in all of nature. Second, the place stinks like rotting eggs.
This isn't about odor — honestly, if the species that invented indoor plumbing doesn't smell better, we're in serious trouble. But we have a far better sense of smell than Neanderthals did, and that reveals some crucial differences in our brains.
For all of you considering a job in the poultry industry, here's an occupational hazard you might not have thought of.
The speed of light is 186,282 miles per second. The speed of sound is 761.2 miles per hour. That takes care of vision and hearing, but what about our other senses? Shouldn't there be a speed of smell?
The black widow spider practices sexual cannibalism, in which the female eats the male after mating - indeed, that's why they're called black widows in the first place. But males have an unexpected way of avoiding that fate.
It's hard to know where to begin when calculating the effects that climate change might have on our planet, but I'm guessing most people haven't considered the smell factor. Global warming could super-charge the production of a particularly smelly gas.