Smell is Key for Sex and Sanity

Psychologist calls it the most emotionally evocative in new book
By Caroline Zimmerman,  Newser User
Posted Oct 8, 2007 7:04 PM CDT
In her new book "Scent of Desire," psychology professor looks at the significance of smell in our mental state.   (Shutterstock.com)
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(Newser) – Sight may be key for survival, but sex and sanity need the oft-overlooked sense of smell, says a Rhode Island psych prof. Rachel Herz’s The Scent of Desire argues that smell sparks the strongest feelings and memories, often in surprising ways: One woman hated the scent of roses because she first whiffed them at a funeral. "That has stuck with me," Herz said. 

Herz claims that Michael Hutchence, ex-leader of the band INXS, may have killed himself because he lost his sense of smell in an accident. Such a loss can be magnified by the loss of taste, a sense that depends on smell. Herz also contends that reactions to smells vary by gender: Women respond to men's scent, while guys go more for looks, Reuters reports. (Read more psychology stories.)