How We Smell
By Jayton Miller
The sweet aroma of grandmas cooking, or the scent of your favorite cologne. Scent plays a role in the formation of some of our most intimate and important memories. Scent can also have an effect on your mood, causing a rush of saliva to your mouth and a hunger to rumble in your stomach, or might make you feel sick and want to run away. Without the ability to smell life can be a little less vibrant. Let’s take a look at how we smell, and some steps we can take to protect our sniffing abilities.
- The Function Of Smelling
- The Effect Of Smell On Memory, Emotions, Interpersonal Connection
- How to Keep A Healthy Smelling Ability
The Function Of Smelling:
Smell occurs as a result of the nostrils carrying odor toward specialized cells that are designed to respond to thousands of different chemicals. The smelling system is known as the olfactory system, and contains many different parts that include:
- Olfactory Receptor Cell - Responds to odor molecules.
- Supporting Cell - Olfactory receptor cells are embedded in this cell.
- Cilia Of The Olfactory System - Tiny hairs that are in the nasal cavity.
- Mucous Gland - Secretes mucus into the nasal cavity.
- Olfactory Bulb - Collection of nerve cells that receive information from the olfactory receptor cells.
When we breathe in through the nose and inhale odors that are in the environment the odor molecules are dissolved in the mucus of the nasal cavity. The mucous is acting like a solvent in this case helping to catch the odor molecules. The mucous is always being recycled, so there is always an “empty plate” available for more odor molecules to come in and attach to olfactory cells. Each olfactory cell contains approximately 20 hair like structures that float in the nasal mucous and help detect the presence of odor molecules. Once the odor molecules come into contact with the olfactory receptor cells a series of nerve impulses is set off carrying information to the olfactory bulb and then are carried to the rest of the brain.
Read More: Why We Sneeze
The Effect Of Smell On Memory, Emotions, Interpersonal Connection:
Smell plays a unique role in our development. The nerves in the olfactory system make their way directly into the brain where memory and emotions are controlled. Because of the intricate nature of the nerves in the olfactory system, smell has a massive impact on your memories. This is why some people will smell certain things when they study, and bring something that has that smell to the test to tap back into those memories. It is also why your grandmas homemade apple pie makes your mouth water when it is cooking and brings back nostalgic memories from childhood.
Smell also plays a role in interpersonal communication asa well. Not only from avoiding stinky people, but in attraction as well. Pheromones are chemicals that are released into the air by animals to influence the behavior of members of their species. In humans, some studies have shown that mothers can tell the difference between their child’s scent on clothing and a different child’s scent. Although nor firm evidence is available for this, it is also said to be released by potential sex partners, helping to attract the potential partner.
How to Keep A Healthy Smelling Ability:
The most significant thing that you can do to keep your sniffer healthy is to support with a healthy diet and lifestyle. Making sure you are not deficient in any of the nutrients that are involved in smelling, and keeping your body as a whole in shape will help improve the longevity of your smelling ability. If you are looking for a way of eating that does just that then make sure to check out The Thermo Diet by Christopher Walker.
Smell is a crucial part of our experience and without smell (also known as anosmia) life is a little less vibrant. Using smell to your advantage for studying or for influencing your mood can be a good tactic.