o Expertise Supposedly, professional perfumers and wine taster can distinguish up to 100,00 odors Wine experts were better than novices at recognizing which odorants they had smelled before o Age Olfactory sensitivity declines with age. By age 85, 50% of the population is effectively anosmic o Durability of odor memory Our recognition of smells is durable • Olfactory adaptation o Receptor adaptation – the biochemical phenomenon that occurs after continuous exposure to an odorant, whereby the receptors stop responding to the odorant and detection ceases o Cross-adaptation – the reduction in detection of an odorant following exposure to another odorant o The perceived intensity of a smell drops by more than 30% after 12 minutes of exposure This explains why people cannot smell their own house or body odor • Anosmia o Odor blindness (anosmia) can be quite specific to particular odors such as cyanide (1/10 people) or butyl mercaptan (added to house gas to make it detectable –
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