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(BBC)   Scientists claim humans can detect only 10 basic types of smell - 12 if you live in New Jersey   (bbc.co.uk) divider line 17
    More: Interesting, New Jersey, basic type, chemical structure, Cardiff University  
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554 clicks; posted to Geek » on 19 Sep 2013 at 6:33 AM (42 weeks ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-09-19 06:57:58 AM
Um, no, sense of smell is considerably more nuanced than that. It would be trivial to find more than ten items (12 in NJ) that smell recognizably differently in a double-blind test. What they've done is categorize smells into ten basic categories.

From TFA: The thousands of aromas humans can smell can be sorted into 10 basic categories, US scientists say.

And it's worse than that: they've only classified 144 smells.
 
2013-09-19 06:59:32 AM
I think you'd wind up capable of fewer smells after living in New Jersey.
 
2013-09-19 07:01:14 AM
Hell, my father can emit more than ten basic types of smell.
 
2013-09-19 07:09:50 AM
Popcorn? Popcorn is one of ten basic smells? Really?
 
2013-09-19 07:34:27 AM

ginandbacon: Popcorn? Popcorn is one of ten basic smells? Really?


Well, popcorn farts.
 
2013-09-19 07:45:23 AM
Well this is very hard to argue with, if there is anything computers are good with it is knowing what things smell like.  I use mine to help check old milk all the time.
 
2013-09-19 07:48:08 AM

ginandbacon: Popcorn? Popcorn is one of ten basic smells? Really?


The Devil doesn't smell like brimstone. He smells like burnt popcorn
 
2013-09-19 07:49:40 AM
Where would "Wet Dog" fall at in those categories?
 
2013-09-19 08:29:11 AM
There are 3 things that smell like fish.
 
2013-09-19 08:42:00 AM

Sybarite: ginandbacon: Popcorn? Popcorn is one of ten basic smells? Really?

Well, popcorn farts.


HAHAHAHA!I almost kicked the BF AND the dog out of bed a couple of nights ago because of those...

Whoooowheeeeeeee they were STINKY!
 
2013-09-19 09:17:14 AM
I'm compelled to post some kind of fart joke here (out of tradition, you understand).
 
2013-09-19 10:42:10 AM

wild9: Where would "Wet Dog" fall at in those categories?



"Wet dog" is actually a very complex set of aromatic compounds, just like nearly every other naturally-occurring aroma.

If you were to take apart "wet dog" into its constituents, each of them could likely be "categorizable" into those 10 groups.
 
2013-09-19 06:28:00 PM

Tymast: Well this is very hard to argue with, if there is anything computers are good with it is knowing what things smell like.  I use mine to help check old milk all the time.


I have an air filter that can tell if I fart across the room and turn on.

As for only ten basic ones, if you can match all the scents with combinations of those ten, then it is believable.

Now that sweet salty sour bitter crap I always felt was nonsense for that reason.
 
2013-09-19 06:29:35 PM
Also I suspect some skeptics in this thread do not grasp just how complex 10 base scents can be.

You get a hell of a lot of colors out of three.
 
2013-09-19 09:33:09 PM

Embden.Meyerhof: wild9: Where would "Wet Dog" fall at in those categories?


"Wet dog" is actually a very complex set of aromatic compounds, just like nearly every other naturally-occurring aroma.

If you were to take apart "wet dog" into its constituents, each of them could likely be "categorizable" into those 10 groups.


Would one of those be microwave popcorn or movie theatre popcorn?
 
2013-09-20 01:15:30 AM

Smackledorfer: Tymast: Well this is very hard to argue with, if there is anything computers are good with it is knowing what things smell like.  I use mine to help check old milk all the time.

I have an air filter that can tell if I fart across the room and turn on.

As for only ten basic ones, if you can match all the scents with combinations of those ten, then it is believable.

Now that sweet salty sour bitter crap I always felt was nonsense for that reason.


i was thinking of Chicken friend steak and mashed potatoes with country gravy (had for dinner).  couldn't find any on the list for that.  no idea what combination would get that.  Sweet air filter!
 
2013-09-20 02:25:50 AM

R.P.M.: i was thinking of Chicken friend steak and mashed potatoes with country gravy (had for dinner).  couldn't find any on the list for that.  no idea what combination would get that.


Not having the ten scents in front of me to play with, I couldn't tell you either.  But I do know this:

If there were only two base scents, there would be, and let us say we can discern a 1% shift in the amount of one vs. the other for the sake of easier discussion, 101 individual smells for us to play with. 99% smell A with 1% smell B mixed in, 98% smell A with 2% B, and so on.

Add a third, and we could smell 101 combinations of purely smell A and B, 101 combinations of purely A and C, 101 combinations of purely B and C, and then you have the three-item combos as well:

98A-1B-1C, 97A-2b-1c, 96A-3b-1c, etc will give us a good 100 smells with only 1% of smell C present.
Then you do that again with two C present and run through all the A-B combinations of the remaining 97 parts per hundred. So now we just did what, 10,000 combinations.

10 base scents is going to be in the millions easily.  I don't know about you, but when you get into that many smells, I can easily see 10 discernible primary managing to come up with a chicken fried steak.

Is it 10? Is it 11? Is it 7? I have no idea.  But it is some number, and while our noses aren't complete crap we are no dogs and I am doubtful it is a particularly high number for the primary scents.
 
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