The feeling of fear, discomfort or shock can considerably aggravate sensitivity of the person to smells. To such conclusion the group of scientists of Northwest university of the city of Evanston (Illinois, USA) has come after a series of experiments.
The scientists subjected examinees to an electroshock of small force after what those could distinguish such thin shades of smells, which as it was considered earlier, only animals can distinguish, magazine Nature reports.
In the experiment, which was conducted in the J.Gottfried’s Laboratory of neurology, known for the researches in the field of sense of smell, examinees had to distinguish by smell the substances enantiomers, consisting of the molecules, being mirror reflection of each other. Only rats can distinguish such substances, people, as a rule, are not capable for it.
Participants of the experiment should distinguish two enantiomers, or mirror isomer, – one of them had the unusual grassy smell, the second – oily.
The examinees were offered to smell the first substance, they received a blow by a current of small force – from 0,5 to 5 mA, which caused only small discomfort.
At the second stage participants of experiment received three samples (two with one enantiomer and one – with another) and had to remove the “unpaired”. In the experiences with substance with an oily smell the number of correctly identified kept within the statistically expected – 33 %, and with “grassy” – after seven blows by an electroshock – appreciably higher: more than 50 %.
“We have established, that people who couldn’t firstly distinguish samples from each other, having felt fear, could make it. The feeling of sense of smell at people has appeared more strongly, than we believed earlier”, – Jay Gottfried marks.
During the researches the magnet-resonant research of a part of the brain, connected with perception of a smell, was also carried out. Thus, before application of an electroshock reaction of this site was identical for both enantiomers, but after – differed rather significantly.
The expert on smells of the Rockefeller University (New York) Leslie Washell has noticed, that scientists managed to show, that people are capable to distinguish smells when they have a serious reason for this purpose, for example, to avoid an electroshock.
“We are quite capable to make it in correct conditions”, – she has told, having congratulated her colleagues with opening of the latent human abilities.