Hatching Free Range Ideas

I smell, therefore I am. . .

In How we learn and think, Visual Thinking on April 29, 2011 at 3:08 pm

I was talking Wednesday night to a good but infrequently seen friend. He’s a computational neurobiologist. It’s even fun to write that. I love saying it. I think of him like the physicist of brain science. Anyway, I asked about the connection between thought and imagery, ’cause I wanted a scientist’s perspective. He said, “Oh. That all works on the olfactory algorithm.” Well, duh!

But wait, I asked. Doesn’t that mean smell?

It seems that our brain developed through smell’s guidance (or something like that) and that vision then had to follow smell’s lead. So we categorize visual imagery based on the same kind of process that we use to define smell.

Aha! A connection. Remember those times when smells send you right back to a clear, distinct but forgotten memory? They (who?) say that smell is the greatest, cleanest, brain opener there is. I get it now!!!

I’m going to learn more because this is great provocation, but I still need to get to the brain/visual stuff. I’ll keep you posted.

  1. Cool

  2. That is cool…but what happens or does someone develop differently if they can’t smell? or see for that matter? How then does the “connection” become established? And how different would that experience be from those of us who would be considered “normal”?

    • I think that’s a great question. You seem to be asking, what is the adaptation, if any?

      When the big brain guy was telling me about it, he was talking about smell from an evolutionary perspective (ancient man). So, the way our brain processes, generalizes and categorizes is based on how our evolutionary sense of smell thought developed.

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