Traditionally, philosophers have overlooked the sense of smell, dismissing it as too coarse for civilized society and vastly inferior to sight and vision. But in the past two decades scientists have begun to realize how powerful our noses are and the astonishing and unexpected ways smells can affect us. How do we perceive smells? What messages do they contain? How do they alter and influence our brain and behavior? In finding answers to these questions, we meet with people suffering from anosmia (loss or impairment of the sense of smell) and discover that our noses are directly wired to the deepest, oldest parts of our brains,
where feelings originate and memories are stored.
What is more, biologists have found smell receptors throughout the whole body and think that certain scents halt the growth of malignant tumors while others might be used to disorient sperm and provide reliable birth control.
While consulting representatives from the fragance industry and scientists, we realize how fascinating the science of smell is. The investigation of olfacotry perception and its applications has only just begun. We should probably prepare ourselves for some surprises...