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Science. 1977 Feb 25;195(4280):796-8.

Differential sensitivity for smell: "noise" at the nose.


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.

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