A human is capable of differentiating more than 17 000 odors and only 73 pain sensations.
With such rapid development of technology, olfactory system, which used to be considered simply as atavism, is turning into an integral counterpart enabling us to perceive the world to its full potential.
Up until recently, majority of scientists had rather skeptical views regarding the influence of smell in the way one is being perceived by others. The entire olfactory system is not as powerful as one's mimic, gestures, voice or sense of touch. In socio-cultural relationships people try to regulate odor intensity.
Anthropologists claim that in the course of human evolution human's hearing and vision have been totally perfected. Not one of the world's languages can provide as many odor classifications as color classifications. Ethnolinguistics often describes color classifications. However, it appears to be absolutely pointless to look for similar studies conducted in the field of odors. The concept of odors can only be divided into two distinct categories: “stench” and “fragrant odor.”
It is also possible to talk about “big” and “small” odors. “Big” odors of an ocean or fire, of forest or snow can be sensed from a distance. These “big” odors are considered to be the same for everyone. In contrast to vision and hearing, sociological meaning of elementary feelings appears to be secondary.
There is no doubt that every human being fills the air with his/her specific smell. Intimate relationships between a man and a woman intensify olfactory systems of both partners. Also, the same effect can be noticed in a nursing mother and her newborn baby.
In many languages the verb “to hear” refers to hearing sounds as well as odors. On the other hand, there exist absolutely no musical pieces on odors. While composers often portray visual images through music, odors do not usually find their resemblance in such works of art.
Head of Chicago bureau of research studies of taste and odor, neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Alan Hirsch conducted a rather interesting experiment.
The experiment took place in one of the Nike stores. Hirsch asked 31 customers to examine all merchandise in both rooms. The rooms were absolutely identical with identical items. However, one of the rooms was felt with flower aroma. By the end of the experiment, 28 customers wanted to purchase sneakers in the “scented room.” Proper scent makes all the difference.
Shelling and Gegel hypothesized that every single object had a spirit, that spirit was capable of being materialized. Odor is a transitional substance between matter and spirit. Odor—is a spirit of objects; spirit in flesh. Odor is capable of neither transmitting intellectual nor ethical qualities of one’s conscious. However, it can reveal man's physical state (his illnesses, his likes/dislikes).