Sure, it’s easy to notice the scent when someone hasn’t showered in a few days, or when there’s a bit of rotting food in the fridge, but what about more subtle scents? According to a new Ted Ed video, it’s really quite easy to train your brain to identify these scents, all it takes is a bit of training.
We actually smell with our brains, not our noses. According to Brainfacts, odor travels through our nose to a strip of tissue in our brain called the olfactory epithelium which contains receptors that bind to odor molecules. It then sends signals to other parts of the brain, so the scent is associated with a taste, memory, or even an emotion.
According to the video, one of the most simple ways to improve your sense of smell is to put your nose closer to the source. The video explained that some of the best smellers in the world, for example dogs and pigs, are so because they constantly have their nose close to the source. And while it’s not recommended to walk around with your nose on the ground, if you really want to smell something, it's best to really get in there.
Also, the video explains that “dwelling” on a smell helps you to understand it better. This means to really take a deep sniff and take time to focus on exactly what you’re smelling. In fact, FMRI scans have shown that the extra time focused on scent actually changes the brains of expert smellers.