Eating pizza with a stuffy nose just isn’t as satisfying — and there’s a reason for that. Dr. Jen Gunter explains how our ability to smell and taste work together to give us a full sensory experience. So whether you’re sniffing the caramelized aroma of coffee, a whiff of trash or a trillion other things, your brain knows exactly what’s under your nose.




Before you watch

Fill in the gaps in the video extract with the words in bold below:

buds                   categorizes                      sniff                    flavo(u)r              arises         label

credit                  disgust               associate                          give up                breathe in

In a recent survey, a majority of respondents picked their sense of smell as the one they’d be most willing to 1. ………………. among the traditional five senses. But if you love food, you shold be giving your nose much more 2. …………. .Becasue it’s actually our sense of smell that plays a huge role in our ability to process 3. ………….. . First, let’s talk about how smell works, from coffee to stinky trash. The substances around us give off volatiles, which you can think of as tiny smell molecules. We 4. …………… these smell molecules, which then stimulate the olfactory sensory neurons that sit high in the nose. Each of these neurons contains an odor receptor on its surface. Once the odor receptors are triggered by these smell molecules, the neurons send information about them to the brain. Here’s what I think is so cool. The brain not only 5. …………. that information as a particular odor, it may also begin to 6. …………… feelings, like pleasure or 7. ………….. and other moods and emotions with that odor for future reference. For example, you 8. ……….. bacon, you eat it, your taste 9. …….. get salt, and then your body gets a whack of fat, which is an energy source. So the brain loves it and attaches a positive 10. ………… to it. The next time you smell bacon, a sensation associated with pleasure 11. ……….. .

Now watch the video and check your answers:


Key: 1.give up; 2. credit; 3. flavour (AmE flavor); 4. breathe in; 5. categorizes; 6. associate; 7. disgust; 8. sniff; 9. buds; 10. label; 11. arises



  • to savor (BrE savour) – to enjoy food or an experience slowly, in order to enjoy it as much as possible
  • whack –  a portion
  • savory – full of flavour, delicious and tasty
  • bland – not having a strong taste and therefore not very interesting to eat


Practice Makes Perfect


Read the first 5 paragraphs of the article: Humans Possess Exotic Sensory Abilities https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/edges-of-perception and answer the questions below:

1.What does a Mark Rothko painting have in common with Bryan Alvarez’s mother’s name?

2. What’s synesthesia?

3. What other strange departures from what is commonly thought of as ordinary perception does history record?

4. What other senses have researchers added to the famous five?

5. What may seem superhuman?





  • What springs to mind when you hear the word ‘senses’?
  • How often do you think about how important your senses are?
  • What gives you more pleasure, lovely music, a delicious taste, a beautiful scene, a nice smell, or the touch of the warm sun?
  • Have you ever has sensory overload?
  • Is intuition a sense?
  • Someone once said: “The five senses are horse sense, innocence, common sense, concupiscence (lust), and nonsense.” Would you agree?



Explore it more to create your own teaching-learning experience!


What color is Tuesday? Exploring synesthesia



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