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


#1

Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/10/16/people-with-a-good-sense-of-sm.html


#2

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


#3

“You can’t get there from here”

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


#4

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


#5

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


#6

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


#7

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.


#8

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.


#9

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.


#10

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


#11

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.


#12

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


#13

“Awful.”
 


#14

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


#15

Big nose energy


#16

So you definitely listen when she provides directions.


#17

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.


#19

But of course.


#20

Now you’ve done it.


#21

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.