Why do smells seem to disappear with continued smelling?

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timothy chiles

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timothy chiles  asked the Naked Scientists:

When I was in high school we did a test where people where blind folded then items where placed under there nose to smell.

One of these test with vinegar I remember well for the person thought the smell was removed but it was still there.

Could you explain why...and maybe reference a real study. I appreciate your time.

Tim Chiles

What do you think?


Offline neilep

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Why do smells seem to disappear with continued smelling?
« Reply #1 on: 14/09/2008 18:19:45 »
This has been discussed here a few times and I was clearly paying attention because I can't recall the facts !.... [::)]..In fact, it even have been a question that I even asked !

As I recall (loosely)...it's (in very simple terms because that's all I know !! [;)])...it's a matter of your body simply getting used to the smell.

...........this happens a lot with people who work in areas where the odour is really offensive....eventually, the nasal receptors become acclimatised to the smell and this of course interacts with the brain etc etc..

Ok..I'l let someone who can actually explain this in more detail have a go now !!
Men are the same as women, just inside out !


Offline TonyCap

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Why do smells seem to disappear with continued smelling?
« Reply #2 on: 15/09/2008 01:45:25 »
It gets less intense, but it never fully goes away for me. Unfortunately, it is still annoying even with the less intensity.
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Steven Seed

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« Reply #3 on: 11/02/2014 16:26:31 »
Is there any way to beat this, like a way to trick your senses into smelling the odor again? What if you are trying to track down this odor in your house and you can't find it, then it's suddenly gone because you've gotten used to it?