People with a good sense of smell may also be better at navigation


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Wwll, it’s always been true for me, anecdotally.


“You can’t get there from here”

Was written above the door of my Navigation Lab in College.


Ditto here. My olfactory and navigational senses are equally abysmal.


I have a lot more experience smelling where NOT to go than the other way around.


So, “just follow your nose” has some meaning after all?


My sense of smell is kind of all over the place, same with my hearing. Often times i can pick up on things that literally no one else can and people think i’m losing it, but i’m 100% sure i’m smelling or hearing something that’s driving me crazy. But for obvious smells or sounds i can’t easily perceive them, maybe my brain is really good at tuning those out :stuck_out_tongue:

As far as my navigation goes, it depends on the context. For hiking my sense of direction is excellent, getting around town? I’m lousy at remembering streets and routes.


My wife has an excellent sense of smell (she’s always the one to notice smells, and I’m always the one to notice sounds), and she has an uncanny sense of direction.

I think I just proved the hypothesis.


interesting. i have the most sensitive sense of smell of all the people i have close association with both in terms of a low threshold of detection and a heightened ability to discriminate between fragrances in a blend. i am also the best navigator among the people i know. i have the ability to return to a location i have been to in the past even if decades have passed since my last visit, i have a remarkable ability to know the cardinal points from where i am, even if i am enclosed, and able to easily use a map to visualize the best route between points and to get there.

anecdotal, but interesting.


Me; I have a hypersensitive sense of smell and a bad sense of direction…


There are twisty old farm roads I can navigate by bike but not by car. I’ve always attributed it to the isolation booth thing in general.


“My friend’s dog doesn’t have a nose.”
“Really? Then how does he smell?”




Likewise. The Mrs. is the direct opposite, which works out fantastically!


Big nose energy


So you definitely listen when she provides directions.


Heading to school on the subway, we were all let off one stop short of my destination. Problem with the cars. Anyway, instead of waiting for the next arrival, I decided to just walk the rest of the way. Going down a street I had never walked before, I got a very strong whiff of blood. I was like ‘What the’. A moment later I noticed a sign on a building immediately to my left. A blood bank.

Coincidence? I THINK NOT! :wink:

PS: I did not get lost on my way to school.


But of course.


Now you’ve done it.


Fun fact: fish have a very good sense of smell. They navigate with it. Salmo salar, e.g., finds the river where it spawned by it’s olfactory senses.

No wonder this is a study from McGill.