Why do not we perceive our own body odor?

Patrick Süskind's book "The Perfume" tells the story of Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, born on 17 July 1738 in Paris under the most miserable conditions. From the beginning he has the taint of not owning a body odor - a flaw that isolates him from the people and makes him an outsider. Only as a 25-year-old, he recognizes his own odorlessness as a result of a dream sequence, which represents an extreme shock experience for him. So much for the fiction of the book. The fact is that every person has a certain odor, which he does not perceive himself.

Why do not we perceive our own smell?

Fragrances work through the nose directly into the brain: Via the olfactory cells in the nose, the information is directed to old centers of our brain. Incidentally, the nose is the only sensory organ that sends its impulses directly into the brain, without any other nerve cells being interposed. Thus, this information bypasses the cerebrum and eludes the conscious perception of man.

Because we constantly find smells and odors everywhere, our brain has to protect itself from overloading with information - the nervous system ignores the smell of its own body. Only with a strong change in the body odor such as heavy sweating after exercise or neglected personal hygiene, we perceive an inherent odor, because this then rises to us demonstratively in the nose.

By the way ...

In contrast to the sense of smell of animals such. As a dog or a cat, the sense of smell of humans is relatively underdeveloped. However, we humans can distinguish about 10, 000 different scents.

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