The Nose Knows

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  • Smell - The Nose Knows?
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  • What the Nose Knows: The Science of Scent in Everyday Life by Avery Gilbert.

Essence and Alchemy: A Book of Perfume. Mandy Aftel. Luca Turin. Chandler Burr.

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See all free Kindle reading apps. Don't have a Kindle? Customers who bought this item also bought. Perfumes: The A-Z Guide. Perfumes: The Guide Rachel Herz. Share your thoughts with other customers. Write a customer review. Showing of 4 reviews. Top Reviews Most recent Top Reviews. There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later. Long on psychology, short on biochemistry. Format: Paperback Verified Purchase.

This is an amiable popular science book addressing a cornucopia of topics relating to the human sense of smell. Its well-written and the author presents as authorative on most of the topics of which he speaks.

How the Nose Knows!

It might not be apparent what is in the book from the title and synopsis, so let me give a quick run through of some of the topics. How many smells? How can one classify them? Simulating the smell of marijuana. People vary hugely in their sensitivity to odours. Identifying odour is a cognitive problem not a sensory one. Does smoking dull the sense of smell? Are the blind more sensitive to smell? The human nose is better than most think. Depictions of the sense of smell in fiction are often spurious. The role of sniffing. Suggestibility in odour detection. Smelling what is in your mouth. The importance of cooking to human nutrition.

Spice palettes as cultural artifacts. Cleansing the palate. Do the traditional pairings of glass and wine make sense? Multiple chemical sensitivity: fragrances as pollutants. Just how sensitive are the hyper-sensitive? Learned odour aversions. The development of odour in corpses. Familiar odours we can not identify. What allows some to be imaginative with odour? Smell-o-vision and Aromarama. Smells in marketing.

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Is smell the most emotionally evocative of the senses? How influential are subliminal smells? Scratch and sniff.


Marcel Proust, false idol. Andy Warhol's scent museum: smells which evoke ones past. The evolving smellscape, lost pasts. Past human diet: extracting scents from an ancient human turd. Electronic noses. Gene transfer between species to make vegetables smell more interesting.

Each person has roughly kinds of smell receptor. Odour blocking as a means of helping dieters. Genetically modifying our noses. That ought to give a sense of things, including the fact that there is a slight through-a-hedge-backwards element to the whole and please bear in mind that a book that treats such a diverse range of topics is mostly only giving superficial tastes smells?

This book also has drawbacks.

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There are a couple of odd chapters, one on the history of smellovision and another on the 'contribution' of Marcel Proust to the subject of scent and memory. Perhaps, you will like them but to me they did not seem to be of a piece with the rest of the book which was more sciency.

For what its worth smellovision as it emerged in the late fifties could not really work because it required getting a smell into and out of a large volume of air - the cinema - in a relatively short period of time The Proust chapter was just weird. Apparently, Marcel Proust is celebrated amongst smell psychologists for pointing out the way smells can evoke the past. The author objects to this: apparently, Proust made relatively little of the effect of smell in this regard and largely got it wrong when he did talk about it.

Besides which a whole gaggle of American?! Oh, and it also turns out a whole bunch of French authors - some of whom Proust might well have read - had also beaten him to it.

"The Nanny" The Nose Knows (TV Episode ) - IMDb

To be honest, Proust seemed to be a diversion in a chapter that seemed to be asserting that there is nothing special about the way that smell and memory interact. Lastly, if you feel you would like to mix up a few smells of your own and would like some kind of guide as to how to get started So in summary: a broadly enjoyable cornucopia but with a couple of clunker chapters. Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase. Avery Gilbert is a very entertaining writer with a beautiful turn of phrase.

He also seems to loathe Europeans of all varieties, which is interesting to read about, especially when you are one. He's the master of the enraged rant, and will whip out his sharpened pen and jab it in the direction of sloppy science and unsustainable assumption wherever he finds it. He rants at Proust for being quoted regularly when the subject of scent, taste and memory arise and cites American writers who are far more skilled at evocative description. It was hardly Proust's fault; he never claimed to be an expert on olfaction. But after all, he was French so he seems to deserve everythig he gets.

Gilbert also has a rant at a European sales assistant who ignorantly suggesedt using the thick end of a perfume blotter to spray the sample instead of the thin end. Yourself as a boy, bundling and delivering newspapers in the predawn darkness? Or perhaps, lolling in bed with a boyfriend, reading the Sunday Times, the morning after you first slept together?

Now, savor.

This scent may someday be rare, if not extinct, as more and more of us get our news online and the paper part of newspapers becomes obsolete. The smell of a Sunday paper as our own Proustian madeleine. A lot of it has to do with surprise. For me, no. I craved a more fleshed-out narrative, whether personal, historical or chronological, to pull me through the book and give it a discernible shape. Oddly, we learn very little about Gilbert himself; why he became so entranced by the sense of smell, what his training entailed, and exactly what a sensory psychologist does day to day.

Like the elementary-level wall text often found in museums, the book can be uncomfortably wooden and didactic at times. Some spices are used by many different cultures. Readers will also be disabused of the notion that blind people have a heightened sense of smell nope, not even Helen Keller, apparently ; that dogs can easily sniff out bladder cancer not without tremendous training, and even then, not so well ; and that a palate cleanser is needed for proper wine tasting, or that the size and shape of a wineglass significantly affects aroma.

On a more serious note, he looks into the condition known as M. admin