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Lecture 13 - The University of Texas at Dallas

Lecture 13 - The University of Texas at Dallas

Lecture 13 - The University of Texas at

ODOR PERCEPTION Olfaction: a "bad" Sense? Claire Sulmont-Rossé • Some philosophical points of view ➜ Olfaction is associated with sex Antiquity: perfumes are associated with physical pleasure and prostitution. Plato, Kent, Freud: olfaction is a sense of lust, desire and impulse. Its carries the sense of animality. Claire Sulmont-Rossé Updated April 10, 2008 Olfaction: a "bad" Sense? • Some performance data ➜ Sensitivity Dogs are from 300 to 10,000 times more sensitive to odors than humans. ➜ Discrimination ability Humans could distinguish thousands of different types of odorants. ➜ Identification ability When asked to identify familiar odors, people were successful only about half the time. Claire Sulmont-Rossé Updated April 10, 2008 Odor Perception • Overview ➜ Olfaction: a "bad" Sense? ➜ The Olfactory System ➜ The Nature of Smell ➜ Odor and Behavior ➜ General Conclusion Claire Sulmont-Rossé Updated April 10, 2008 Olfaction: a "bad" Sense? • Some philosophical points of view ➜ Olfaction is associated with animality Freud: since humans walks upright, they can "see" what is happening around them. As many odors are heavier than air, smelling implies lying on the ground, like animals. Humans are unable to express odors in language, a capacity which is quintessentially human and testifies to civilization. Claire Sulmont-Rossé Updated April 10, 2008 Olfaction: a "bad" Sense? • Some performance data ➜ Macrosmates (good smellers) Many mammals (rodents, herbivores, many predators), fishes, amphibians, reptiles, insects ➜ Microsmates (poor smellers) Birds, Humans ➜ Anosmates (non-smellers) Whale Claire Sulmont-Rossé Updated April 10, 2008

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