How the Nose Knows!

    “How the Nose Knows!” Friend, Feb. 1978, 22


    How the Nose Knows!

    Let’s get nosy about your nose. Here are some interesting facts about your sense of smell.

    Whether your nose is big or little makes no difference in your smelling ability! In fact your organ for smelling is actually inside your inner nose. When you breathe, air is carried over odor sensory nerves. When chemicals in the air touch the tiny projections of these nerves, an electrical impulse goes to the olfactory nerve and then to the brain that translates the impulse into a specific smell.

    Have you ever noticed that a strong, overpowering smell usually becomes milder and seems to almost disappear? That’s because your sense of smell tires out faster than your other senses.

    It is possible to train one’s nose to be able to identify a larger number of different odors. Doctors sometimes diagnose certain diseases by smell.

    Apparently your sense of smell is also connected with your memory. Has a smell suddenly made you remember some incident or person or place? A smell can bring back a memory or a feeling you had when you experienced the smell before.

    With most of us our sense of smell is underdeveloped from nonuse. It helps to practice using and developing your sense of smell. Here are two “nose” games to help you:

    Spice Is Nice

    Choose six spices such as black pepper, cloves, sage, ginger, cinnamon, and garlic salt. Place a small amount of each spice into separate paper cups. Cover cups with waxed paper held in place with a rubber band. Poke holes in the paper for aromas to come through. Number each cup for identification. The object of the game is to have players identify the spices and write their names on a sheet of paper. Player who identifies the most aromas wins.


    Cut into small bite-size pieces an onion, an apple, a raw potato, and a pear. (Experiment with other foods too.) Blindfold players one at a time. Then have blindfolded player hold nose closed with fingers to block sense of smell. Place a piece of food in player’s mouth without identifying it. Ask him to guess what the food is. The object of this game is to surprise players with the fact that many foods cannot be tasted without help from the nose. Our senses of taste and smell work together when we eat. In order to recognize the flavor of some foods, we must be able to smell them too. There are only four tastes the tongue can detect without help from the sense of smell—sweet, sour, bitter, and salty.

    Illustrated by Parry Merkley