An NRC Handelsblad Book of the Year
“Offers rich discussions of olfactory perception, the conscious and subconscious impacts of smell on behavior and emotion.”
Decades of cognition research have shown that external stimuli “spark” neural patterns in particular regions of the brain. We think of the brain as a space we can map: here it responds to faces, there it perceives a sensation. But the sense of smell–only recently attracting broader attention in neuroscience–doesn’t work this way. So what does the nose tell the brain, and how does the brain understand it?
A. S. Barwich turned to experts in neuroscience, psychology, chemistry, and perfumery in an effort to understand the mechanics and meaning of odors. She discovered that scents are often fickle, and do not line up with well-defined neural regions. Upending existing theories of perception, Smellosophy
offers a new model for understanding how the brain senses and processes odors.
“A beguiling analysis of olfactory experience that is fast becoming a core reference work in the field.”
“Lively, authoritative…Aims to rehabilitate smell’s neglected and marginalized status.”
—Wall Street Journal
“This is a special book…It teaches readers a lot about olfaction. It teaches us even more about what philosophy can be.”
—Times Literary Supplement