OUR SENSES & Learning – Smell (#3b)

chef smelling soup

PREVIOUS: Olfactory Learners (#2d)

SITEs: The World Though our Senses

Learning Styles Affects How You Play GOLF



According to Dr. Ira Greene, of “The Nose Knows: A Nasal-Based Curriculum Development Guide”, there are 3 distinct types of nasal learners:, which need to be treated differently: goal-oriented, activity-oriented & learning-oriented.

: “…while activity & goal oriented learners may be sufficiently motivated by the prospect of an olfactory reward at the end of a task, the learning-oriented students needs something more to sustain their interest.”

Few people appreciate the range of info provided by the sense of smell.
Anosmia – the clinical term for the inability to smell – is a little-known & invisible but serious problem. We do notice it’s loss when we have a cold or allergies, but rarely consider what would happen if it disappeared altogether. Olfaction is a vulnerable sense, & smell disorders or total loss are more common than realized. (“A Sense of Hope” – Monell Center. PA)  (SMELLS: Consumer preferences)

smell & imagesResearch also shows that smell has a unique relationship to words & images. Scents are normally experienced as purely visceral, subjective experiences, hard to put into words, yet writers often describe them.

The “Proust Effect” – from Marcel Proust’s influential multi-volume novel “In Search of Lost Time” – names smell’s ability to trigger involuntary memories, illustrating literature’s crucial role in shaping our understanding of how smell works.

Since 2000, Scholastic Scents in Cambridge, MA. has been working to fill the void in materials geared towards nasal learners, by providing scratch-and-sniff textbooks & variety of educational packets such as the Oregon Trail fragrance set, & “Speak and Smell” language workshops.  (Scented Children’s books)

L. Stanley’s article “What does purple smell like?” (Child-Ed) describes one of the few studies to examine smell as part of a multi-sensory approach to helping children learn – by investigating & discovering the world around them.happy grapes

: In one study, teachers of 2-year-olds matched colors to familiar objects, like purple with the smell & taste of grapes, & then played the blindfold game “Smell the Color.” The children enthusiastically & successfully learned those colors presented, & paid closer attention to other colors in their environment.

L. Burmark, in “They Snooze, You Lose: The Educator’s Guide to Successful Presentations “, recommends going beyond auditory or visual forms to more engaging lessons to keep students interested. Studies show that multi-media presentations increase in effectiveness by 300%.

Burmark is particularly interested in incorporating smell. A powerful tool for gathering info, it’s strongly related to memory & emotion, with 75% of emotional responses being based on smell. This connection makes it possible to use scents for memory improvement

In July 2003, the Summer School on HUMAN OLFACTION was held in Dresden, Germany.
Its aim was to provide participants with up-to-date info on various aspects of human chemical senses, through lectures, practical demonstrations & experiments carried out by participants.

EXP: 6 Vehicle Warning SMELLS  (from the Car Care Council, in MD.)
1. Burning Carpet – often a sign of brake trouble, a serious safety hazard, noticeable even under normal driving conditions

2. Burnt rubber – could mean slipping drive belts, or a misplaced loose hoses that could be rubbing against rotating accessory drive pulleys.
Note: don’t reach in if the engine is hot

3. Gasoline – likely sign of a gas leak, possibly from a fuel injector line, or the fuel tank. Check right away, as any gas leakage is a potential fire hazard

4. Hot oil – could mean oil is leaking on to the exhaust system. Signs will be oil on the pavement, or smoke from the engine area

5. Rotten eggs – could mean the catalytic converter is not properly converting hydrogen sulfide into sulfur dioxide in the exhaust. Can cause converter to overload & break down.

6. Syrup – could be a sign the car is leaking engine coolant from some component of the cooling system. Note – don’t open radiator cap when hot

NEXT: Taste (Part 2f)