Making Scents of Sounds; April 2010; Scientific American Magazine; by Lynne Peeples; 2 Page(s)
Flavor just got some competition. Smell and taste are known to converge to produce the best and worst of culinary experiences, but new research suggests that information received through the nose can also be altered by noise. If confirmed, this newfound union could have potent olfactory and gustatory implications.
The discovery of a possible smell-sound sense, or “smound,” came to Daniel Wesson by accident. “I was simply trying to find the way the olfactory tubercle responds to odors,” he says, referring to a structure at the base of the brain that was implicated in odor detection only in 2004. But when he set down his coffee mug on a laboratory bench one afternoon, he noticed that the activity in the tubercle of the mice he was studying spiked. He picked his mug back up. Sip. Clunk. Spike.