Differential sensitivity for smell: "noise" at the nose

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Science  25 Feb 1977:
Vol. 195, Issue 4280, pp. 796-798
DOI: 10.1126/science.836592


The ability of subjects to resolve differences in concentration of chemicals in the vapor phase by smell rivaled the optimum performance of chromatographs. In some instances, subjects resolved a difference in concentration of only 5 percent. The reported inability of olfaction to register fine differences in intensity seems to be largely a result of fluctuations in the stimulus.