, Volume 45, Issue 2, pp 130–132 | Cite as

Is there directional smelling?

  • G. Kobal
  • S. Van Toller
  • T. Hummel
Short Communications


The aim of the present study was to establish the crucial precondition for directional smelling, i.e. the ability of humans to discriminate between odorous stimuli perceived either from the right or from the left side. When the ‘pure’ odorants hydrogen sulphide or vanillin were used as stimulants localization was random. On the other hand stimulation with carbon dioxide or menthol yielded identification rates of more than 96%. These results established the fact that directional orientation, considering single momentary odorous sensations, can only be assumed, when the olfactory stimulants simultaneously excite the trigeminal somatosensory system.

Key words

Nose olfaction directional smelling orientation dichotic stimulation 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag Basel 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Kobal
    • 1
  • S. Van Toller
    • 2
  • T. Hummel
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology and ToxicologyUniversity of Erlangen-NürnbergErlangen(Federal Republic of Germany)
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of WarwickCoventry(England)

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