Although humans have a superbly keen sense of smell, they have only minimal conscious awareness of smell and are extremely limited in their ability to describe olfactory experience. One reason this is so is the unique neurobiology underlying the olfactory system. The second reason is that we are not taught to pay attention to the olfactory sensations. So, we do not usually bring the olfactory sensation to our awareness in order to analyse and name it.
For these two reasons, the great majority of our olfactory experiences do not take place in the verbal sphere. However, it is essential that experts in odour, such as perfumers and food/drink professionals, are able to verbally describe the set of odours that are present in a given product. The olfactory performance can be improved with training which makes more effective the neural processing of the odorous stimuli as well as the subjective capacity of naming them. Crossmodality is an effective tool in olfactory training since it considers the olfactory object as a unitary percept. The aim of this course is to show how to identify families/subfamilies of aromas using not only the olfactory system but also the gustatory, trigeminal, and visual functions.
1) The neurobiology of the olfactory system: How are the odorant molecules captured and perceived?
2) The genetics of olfaction: When coriander smells like soap.
3) Olfactory detection, identification, and naming: The “Tip-of-the-Nose” experience.
4) The role of memory and emotions on olfactory identification.
5) The olfactory language: Combining cognitive and emotional concepts.
6) Smell vocabulary and culture
7) The cross-talk between olfaction and the gustatory (‘sweet’ aroma), trigeminal (‘sharp’ aroma), and visual (‘green’ aroma) systems.
8) The main aroma families in coffee and tools to identify them using crossmodality.
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