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  1. #1

    Lightbulb Advances in unveiling human olfaction

    Trimmer et al. have conducted an interesting experiment: it showed not only the extent of variability in olfactory perception (both intensity and pleasantness), but also it could attribute some of that variability to factors as individual genetic mutations, age, ancestry, or the presence of a Y-chromosome.

    The most interesting figure:
    Bildschirmfoto vom 2020-01-29 09-13-13.jpg

    This reminds us that smell perception is highly individual, which we might or might not consider when composing.

    Link to the study, i.e. full paper: www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1804106115

    Cheers!

    PS: Remember, if you want to access an scientific paper, you can make the choice to use https://sci-hub.se .

  2. #2
    Basenotes Member Big L's Avatar
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    Default Re: Advances in unveiling human olfaction

    Thats great, thank you very much for posting. I am super happy to see something as impotent as olfaction finally becoming more scientific.

    Until now, this one is my favourite: Molecular mechanism of activation of human musk receptors OR5AN1 and OR1A1 by (R)-muscone and diverse other musk-smelling compounds

  3. #3

    Default Re: Advances in unveiling human olfaction

    Quite interesting, thank you. Also thank you for the valuable reminder on this way to view papers.

    I hope there will be a followup where perception is studied more closely than simply intensity and "pleasantness."

    For example, while we can never really know exactly another person's experiential perception, it could hypothetically be that two people internally experience exactly the same "smell" from a given odorant. They happen to have the exact same receptors. Perhaps they are close family members making this not unreasonable.

    The compound is, say, L-muscone.

    Both get identical "smell" experientially, if for no reason other than that's our premise for the example. Their brains are receiving the exact same signals,. But one may have associations making them think "Ewwwww! Unclean!" while the other has associations having them think "Wow! Fantastic!"

    We would have uncovered nothing about their receptors by finding that one rated it lower for "pleasantness" than the other. While a different study might demonstrate that they always had essentially the same descriptions in terms of perceived note categories, but perhaps sometimes wildly different responses as to whether they were pleasant or not.

    Another example could be, when it comes to food, I hate cilantro. Now, perhaps I experience the exact same notes as another, from very similar signals from receptors, with cilantro, but to me since I hate the taste of it, I will not find the smell pleasant, while another person does.

    Now it's not so easy and certainly will end up being somewhat arbitrary to have odorant categories, but this has been done before to limited extent, and I think could be done to better extent than it has been.

    (A fundamental problem I think with having a really valid study doing that is that even someone working at perfuming for some time will find that they don't immediately volunteer all the notes from a substance that with time they may decide are there, and if on the one hand notes are suggested this sometimes help in finding actual perception, other times power of suggestion will give false data. My suggestion would be to include for every substance for example 3-5 notes suggested by TGSC, so a fairly systematic way of choosing, and a larger number of notes which are not suggested, with subjects being informed are a mix of notes some trained people find in the substance and other notes which trained people do not, they are suggestions only.)




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