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Smell Blind? It's a Real Thing When Distracted, Study Finds

Smell Blind? It's a Real Thing When Distracted, Study Finds
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By    |   Wednesday, 06 June 2018 06:07 PM

People can be "smell blind" and miss new smells in their environment when distracted or focused, according to a study.

The phenomenon is called inattentional smell blindness or inattentional anosmia, and it is similar to the tendency to miss visual cues when focused on something else, Science Daily reported.

The study conducted by the University of Sussex found there was one key difference between missing a smell and missing a visual cue: After about 20 minutes, people become habituated to a smell and aren’t likely to notice it even after they are finished focusing on another task, Science Daily reported. 

The study used the smell of coffee along with a demanding task and found that those focused on the demanding task were 42.5 percent less likely to notice the coffee smell. When they exited the room and then re-entered it, they were surprised at the strong coffee smell, Science Daily reported. 

Sixty-five percent of those asked what they could smell while still in the room after completing the task could not smell the coffee, Science Daily reported. 

Researchers noted the study could have implications in the home and workplace, including figuring out how to ensure people smell a gas leak or something burning when they are concentrating on a task. It is also possible that focusing on a task could help prevent temptation from food smells for those who are watching what they eat, Medical Xpress reported.

Scientists theorized that the sense of smell developed before other senses, and may be more basic and animalistic, which could be why people habituate to smells after a limited period of time, Science Daily reported. 

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People can be "smell blind" and miss new smells in their environment when distracted or focused, according to a study.
smell, blind, study
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2018-07-06
Wednesday, 06 June 2018 06:07 PM
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