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The Sweet Success of Smell

Your ability to distinguish odors

(HealthDayNews) -- You probably know the sweet, pungent scent of orange blossoms -- but would you recognize it among a number of other scents?

The answer most likely is "yes," according a report in the journal Perception, which notes that you can probably distinguish a single odor in a fairly complex mixture.

Researchers at the University of Western Sydney in Australia found that a person's ability to recognize a single odor in a mixture is quite remarkable. When they mixed 15 odors together and asked people whether the mixture contained a specific scent, most people could answer accurately.

But there is a limit to this ability, it seems. When the researchers mixed 16 scents or more, the answers came out no better than random chance.

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