The Latest Science on the Senses
Turns out the saying "Smells fishy" isn't just a metaphor: Fishy smells actually do raise our suspicions. In a University of Michigan study, people became more mistrustful when investing money if they smelled fish oil spray as opposed to a different foul odor (flatulence, to be exact).
British scientists have discovered that "tuning out" is a biological phenomenon: Focusing intently on a visual task—like reading a page-turner or doing a crossword—can render a person deaf to perfectly audible sounds.
Your sensory capabilities may actually help shape your personality, according to research published in the journal PLoS ONE. Subjects who had a heightened trigeminal sense—which detects chemical irritants (like ammonia)—scored higher on neuroticism. People with a high pain tolerance tended to be more conscientious. And those with a powerful sense of smell (which can aid in identifying others' emotions) were generally more socially aware.