The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Do the same things smell different when in different locations?  (Read 1035 times)

Offline DandyVandy

  • First timers
  • *
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
When I was little I noticed that when I went to my grandmothers my blanket smelled different. As soon as I got home the scent went back to normal. why is this?
« Last Edit: 11/09/2015 08:17:29 by chris »


Offline alancalverd

  • Global Moderator
  • Neilep Level Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4505
  • Thanked: 139 times
  • life is too short to drink instant coffee
    • View Profile
Re: Same item smells different in different homes
« Reply #1 on: 08/09/2015 14:17:38 »
Our senses are not "absolute" but are surprisingly relative and even interdependent - there's a classic after-dinner experiment where you wrap an ice cube in a handkerchief,take a deep drag on a cigarette, and absentmindedly "stub out" the ice cube on a friend's hand. He will swear you have burned him!

Taste and smell are very relative, and the concept of "acquired taste" suggests that there is also a learned component. The pairing of wines and cheeses is a fine example: if you want to sell a lightly flavored wine, you supply plain bread or "palate cleansing" young cheeses between tastings to heighten the flavor of the wine, but if you have a shop full of heavily oaked Riojas and Pays d'Ocs, you put out plates of salted anchovy, mature Cheddar and ripe Camembert so that the wine becomes a sweet relief after the brain-numbing savory.

We acclimatise to atmospheric odors quite quickly, and the air we have been breathing for an hour begins to smell "normal" even with near-toxic levels of mercaptans, ketones, or farts. If you had an archetypal lavender-scented granny and a neurotic mum who scrubbed the nursery with carbolic soap, your sweaty blanket would have smelled alternately sour and sweet in comparison with the background odor.
« Last Edit: 08/09/2015 14:20:22 by alancalverd »

Offline Franklin_Uhuru

  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 54
    • View Profile
It is quite true that things smell differently in different places.

I make little doubt that Mr. Sean Connery and others of his ilk would agree that honesty and integrity smell quite differently north of the Clyde than in Whitehall .... or Cambridge.

The Naked Scientists Forum


SMF 2.0.10 | SMF © 2015, Simple Machines
SMFAds for Free Forums