Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Sense of Smell: Not as Hard-Wired as we Thought, New Study Shows

"To be a 'nose' you have to practise, just as a pianist plays his scales," said Jean-Pierre Royet, a neuroscientist at the Universite Claude Bernard in Lyon, France, and the main architect of a study published this week in the journal Human Brain Mapping. [...]Previous research had shown that constant training changes the brain activity of musicians and athletes, but no one had investigated whether the same would hold for olfaction, the ability to detect odours. To find out, Royet and colleagues enlisted 28 volunteers, half of them student perfumers, and the other half scent makers with five to 35 years in the business. [...]

"Our findings demonstrate the extraordinary ability of the brain to adapt to environmental demands and reorganise with experience," Royet said by phone.
They also show that "mental imaging of odours develops from daily practice and is not an innate skill," he added."

The very interesting article Super Sense of Smell Not Innate appears on Yahoo News page courtesy of AFP. Sandrine Videault, a New Caledonian perfumer which we have interviewed on these pages and creator of the wondrous Manoumalia is featured in the picture; a studen of E.Roudnitska, who pioneered what scienstists prove today.
Sandrine is pretty as a picture with the frangipani at arm's length, isn't she?


  1. Our brains have tremendous power over us, but we also have the power to alter and mould them. A very encouraging thought!

    Thanks for this.

  2. P,

    it is, isn't it? It also means that appreciation can be directed into a common usage, as nurture (instead of nature) could be uniform. So people could all learn to mean the same thing when describing, i.e. facilitate dialogue and interactive thought.


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