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Saturday, August 31, 2013


SENSE OF SMELL


The nose is centrally located on the human face; it is a perennial in fashion and cosmetics, and indispensable for those of us who wear eyeglasses. In social and cultural life and literature, too, the nose is a familiar feature--one need look no further than the many proverbs, sayings, nicknames, and terms of abuse that relate to this striking part of the face.
The nose also forms the external section of the olfactory organ, however, and as such it does not receive the attention it deserves. For example, too few people are aware that breathing through the nose is vital to both physical and mental health. This method of breathing ensures that the air is to some extent warmed and filtered, and in addition it creates the correct pressure in the arteries in the chest cavity. Finally, one smells more when one breathes through the nose, which generally benefits mood and memory.
The Importance of Smell
Taste and smell together are the so-called chemical senses, meaning that stimuli associated with them are chemically based. In many respects the sense of smell is mysterious--not only because little is known about its operation as yet, but also because most people are insufficiently aware of its importance. When people are asked what sense they would be prepared to do without if necessary, smell comes at the top of the list and sight at the bottom. This is a debatable choice, given that smell plays a significant part in many psychic processes and behavior patterns. Smell is essential for the operation of the sense of taste; it affects one's sex life, motivation and memory processes (including learning, health and feelings of security and well-being); and it has an alarm function in life-threatening situations (for instance, in detecting gas fumes, etc.). What is more, in "competition" (that is, when several senses are stimulated simultaneously), the nose often comes out on top. A beautiful-looking apple that smells rotten does not whet our appetite.