The Power of Smell

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Despite being one of the oldest senses, our sense of smell is easily one of the least understood. It’s also the only one with a direct connection to our brain. With each breath we create a detailed picture of our environment. It can warn us of danger, or lead us to food. Some smells may even trigger behaviors without our knowing it. In Scents and Sensibilities, we’ll explore how our sense of smell works, how other organisms utilize it, and how it has such a hold on our emotions and memories.

More videos from this series: Scents and Sensibilities

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Date: Saturday June 4, 2011
Time: 03:00 PM-04:30 PM
Venue: Tishman Auditorium at The New School
Moderator: Juju Chang
Participants: Leslie Vosshall, Sissel Tolaas, Consuelo De Moraes, Avery Gilbert

What does fear smell like? Love? Can we use scent to control behavior? Do humans really sense pheromones? What if you could diagnose diseases just by smelling them? And exactly how does our brain convert floating organic molecules into chemical signals that our brain processes as odor? Over hundreds of thousands of years, our ancestors learned to encode specific scents with information that saved their lives. Many species still depend heavily on smell for their daily survival. Described as "the most direct pathway to the brain," olfaction...[Read more]