A recent scientific study has proposed that we as a species are led by our nose. Scientists involved claim that our sense of navigation is directly connected to our sense of smell.
The study has been conducted on 57 participants which were asked to navigate a virtual town. After the initial run, the participants were tested to see how well they can get from one spot to the other in the least amount of time possible. Another thing that was being tested during this time was the participant’s sense of smell. They sniffed one of the 40 felt tip pens which were infused with different odors. After that, the participants were asked to match the smell to one of the four words shown on a computer screen. What scientists found was that the people smelling the pens and the people that were able to exit the maze the fastest were one and the same.
Scientists believe that this is because of the left orbitofrontal cortex and the right hippocampus being enlarged in the people that performed better on both tests. The orbitofrontal cortex is connected to smelling while the hippocampus has been connected to peoples sense of smell and peoples sense of navigation.
From the study, the nine people that had a damaged orbitofrontal cortex had more trouble in identifying the smells they were presented with. Additionally, they had a harder time in navigating the virtual town on the computer screen.
The theory behind this is that the early humans relied heavily on their sense of smell in order to navigate their surroundings. This theory is better known as the olfactory spatial hypothesis and it has been going around scientific circles for years now. The better a person is at detecting faint whiffs the better they are at finding their way around, and this is probably further connected to their ability to forage for food.
There are very few people on this planet who enjoy their work more than Aner Banner. His friends often readily admit that Aner eats, sleeps, and breaths science 24 hours a day. He is always challenging old methods, proposing new ideas, and seeking to solve difficult problems. Aner spends most of the day imparting his wisdom to the young minds of a small elementary school. Thankfully he has also mastered the art of making science come alive for the future leaders of our nation. He is loved and well respected by students, parents, and faculty alike. His motto forever remains “never stop learning.