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.)