Catherine de Lange wanted to explore the limits of the human sense of smell, so she put hers to the test. Blindfolded on hands and knees, she attempted to emulate the sensory skills of a sniffer dog by trying to follow a trail of cinnamon oil. See the experiment in the video below.
Catherine was actually repeating a project in which UC Berkeley scientists tried to train people’s noses. Researchers are learning that the human ability to smell is actually far more sensitive than they’d previously realized. One study found that humans can detect some chemicals diluted in water to less that one part per billion — that’s a few drops in an Olympic-sized swimming pool.
What’s more, smell affects human mood and behavior even if people don’t consciously register what they’re smelling.