Posted in Miscellany

o two noses alike

Scientists have long known that people perceive scents differently. But emerging evidence from several large-scale studies shows that the variation is larger than previously known.

I like to smell food before I eat it. I also like to smell flowers when I’m out for a walk, and am disappointed by all the red, red roses that have no scent. But one of my children is a much more avid smeller. As a toddler with no social inhibitions, she smelled the bottoms of guests’ shoes. Sometimes I joined her in her smelling adventures, curious about what she found. However, now it seems I may not have known. Turns out that every human nose is unique and each has its blind spots. How human.



Lilian is the author of Web of Angels, a novel about a mom with DID (multiple personalities). She's also the author of the historical novels, The River Midnight and The Singing Fire, about secrets, friendship and motherhood in 19th century Poland and London.

2 thoughts on “o two noses alike

  1. Do you find your hormonal cycle affects this? There are times of the month when everything smells more strongly than usual, and I can’t wear perfume because it gives me a headache. When I was pregnant, my sense of smell was almost a liability – no way could I get near the cat food first thing in the morning! 🙂

    1. Litlove, that is really interesting. I have noticed that at certain times of stress my sense of hearing gets very acute. I didn’t put that together with my sense of smell, but I think that gets more sensitive, as well.

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