The brain and illusions
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The brain and illusions
What can illusions teach us about the brain?
Curated by Gerald Carey
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Phantosmia, the brain condition that makes your nose hallucinate

Phantosmia, the brain condition that makes your nose hallucinate | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it
When a skateboarding accident left Serge Negus with no sense of smell, he shrugged it off. But then he began to experience olfactory hallucinations, or phantom smells. He describes what it is like to live with phantosmia, a rare neurological condition.
Gerald Carey's insight:

A personal story about this experience. It includes an audio clip of the segment from the Science Show.

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Sweet or sour? Duping our taste buds

Sweet or sour? Duping our taste buds | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it

What can you taste when you swirl a mouthful of malt whisky around your mouth? Peaty flavours, honey, sea salt? Talk to any whisky drinker and they'll be happy to discuss at length.

Gerald Carey's insight:

This article is about a whole new field of study called "neurogastronomy - everything we eat or drink is processed by our senses."

Nothing new there. However, some senses can interfere with the taste and smell of some foods and drinks.

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CogFit-Quest's curator insight, April 17, 2014 1:57 PM

Like to eat? Well then you will find this new discipline, labelled "neurogastronomy", absolutely fascinating!

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The Smell Experience Project - Scientific American

The Smell Experience Project - Scientific American | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it

The Smell Experience Project, a project of New York University’s Institute for Social and Psychiatric Initiatives—Education, Research and Services (InSPIRES) is collecting stories from people who have experienced a significant change in their sense of smell.

Gerald Carey's insight:

Here is your chance to get involved in citizen science. Just contact the Smell Experience Project with any experience of smell perception changes.

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Chromosome 17 - A strange sense of smell - YouTube

Do you trust your sense of smell? We usually consider our senses to be relatively reliable and would expect a certain substance to smell the same to different people. Thanks to small genetic variations in a gene called OR7D4 on chromosome 17, however, something which smells like flowers to one person might smell like stale sweat or urine to someone else. As Aoife McLysaght from Trinity College Dublin explains, this is yet another example of how tiny changes in our DNA can alter the way we look or perceive the world.

Gerald Carey's insight:

Genetics determine perception. We have much to explore in this area...[Note: error in the original video - it's Chromsome 19 not 17]

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Part II ~ Non-Sensory Factors and The Psychology of Quality

Part II ~ Non-Sensory Factors and The Psychology of Quality | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it

Non-Sensory Information
It is a common assumption that whether or not we like a wine is determined by its sensory attributes such as taste and aroma. But a wine is loaded with non-sensory stimuli as well, which the brain is processing even before the cork is pulled. Why else does a wine taste great on a Tuscan hillside, in romantic company but when you return home and buy a bottle, you realize it’s a modest Chianti?

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Illusion of Smell (Olfactory Illusion) ~ carvaka 4 india

Illusion of Smell (Olfactory Illusion) ~ carvaka 4 india | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it

Every object that we smell throws of molecules, which are wafted by air towards the approximately ten million olfactory cells that comprise the sensitive nerve endings situated on the roof of both nostrils. Each odor, of varying molecular size and shape, stimulates a specific pattern amongst the receptor cells. These cells use an electrical charge to dispatch the information to the olfactory lobe in the brain, where smell is eventually registered and interpreted.

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Illusions of taste

Illusions of taste | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it
A curious comment just added to the discussion page of Wikipedia's illusion entry has really got me thinking:

the beginning of the article claims that all human senses can be fooled. I've yet to e...
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Taste illusions

Taste illusions | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it
I've just found a 2008 review article on the multisensory perception of flavour that is full of fascinating examples of taste illusions and demonstrates the surprisingly complexity of the gustatory...
Gerald Carey's insight:

Very interesting article from "Mind Hacks" on the confusion between smell and taste.

The article has a link to the pdf version of the 2008 study (long read) and I have added that link here.

http://www.nstu.net/malika-auvray/files/malika-auvray-auvray_spence_2008_cc.pdf

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Scent-sational Smells

Scent-sational Smells | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it
Debunking pheromones without losing faith in the powers of smell
Gerald Carey's insight:

An interesting article on the power (or lack of power) of smells. Interesting that neurons associated with smell can be renewed and that a loss of certain smells might be an early sign of Alzheimers or Parkinson's disease.

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'Smelling' with our eyes: Descriptions affect odor perception

'Smelling' with our eyes: Descriptions affect odor perception | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it
An odor is judged differently depending on whether it is accompanied by a positive or negative description when it is smelled. When associated with a pleasant label, we enjoy the odor more than when it is presented with a negative label. To put it another way, we also 'smell' with our eyes!
Gerald Carey's insight:

Brings a whole new meaning to the phrase, "devouring with your eyes".

Apparently how a food is labelled can directly affect how we perceive an odour.

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Does the brain remember smell? Does altitude affect the taste of food? Why does the thought of frozen food cause goosebumps? | media | triple j

Does the brain remember smell? Does altitude affect the taste of food? Why does the thought of frozen food cause goosebumps? | media | triple j | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it

A podcast by Dr Karl and special guest, Professor Charles Spence, on the ways in which we can fool our senses. Great podcast with some interesting information on the sense of taste and smell.

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THE UNIQUE INTERACTION BETWEEN LANGUAGE AND OLFACTORY PERCEPTION AND COGNITION

Abstract from Chapter 1 - not for the faint-hearted.

 

The interaction between language and olfaction is both contradictory and complex. On the one hand, it is more difficult to assign words to olfactory experience than to any of our other sensory perceptions, and higher-order olfactory cognition can operate without any linguistic involvement. For example, one need not have any verbal knowledge of what a scent is for it to elicit a full blown episodic memory. At the same time, words and verbal context have a more potent influence on the perception of scents than they do for any other sensory system. Labels and verbal suggestions can alter perception of odors to the extent of creating olfactory illusions and once the name for an odor is known olfactory sensory representations can be over-ridden by verbal-cognitive processing. In this chapter a review of research from my laboratory and supporting data from other researchers on the influence and interaction between language and olfaction will be presented. Theories for why this unique relationship with language exists and how olfaction differs from our other senses in this regard will be discussed.

 

(Here is the link to the pdf of the first chapter: http://www.rifm.org/doc/Annl%20Mtg%202010/NOVA%20Trends%20in%20Experimental%20Psychology%20Research%20R%20Herz.pdf)

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Smell Your Way Thin? | Psychology Today

Smell Your Way Thin? | Psychology Today | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it
Can sniffing aromas help you lose weight? By Rachel Herz, Ph.D....
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Illusions —- Tactile – Optical – Auditory – Olfactory – Taste

Illusions —- Tactile – Optical – Auditory – Olfactory – Taste | The brain and illusions | Scoop.it
The term illusion refers to a specific form of sensory distortion. Unlike a hallucination, which is a distortion in the absence of a stimulus, an illusion describes a misinterpretation of a true se...
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Illusions Reveal the Brain's Assumptions

Research and articles on the three best-known human senses: vision, hearing and smelling. Learn how humans see, how we hear and how we smell. From the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.
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