Throughout history, sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell (olfaction) have been the five traditionally recognized stimuli. Western societies usually regard the sense of smell as dispensable.
Some theories of sensory evolution suggest our ancestors opted for distinctive cognitive and perceptual development by sacrificing olfactory acuity. Thus increasing vision precision at the expense of olfaction. But a study done by Asifa Majid and Ewelina Wnuk found that to be the opposite for speakers of Maniq and Jahai, languages indigenous to southern Thailand.
The neglect of olfaction in the West is a result of our own cultural presumptions and sensory biases; smell suffers from neglect, not an inevitable evolutionary trade-off like we thought.
The right language (descriptive and specific words for aromas) can actually enhance the perception of aroma, as language has also enhanced, inflected and refined our other senses. By having a specific and detailed description for a smell you are able to easily identify…
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