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Given the right experimental opportunity, human odor observers respond sensitively and reproducibly to controlled olfactory stimuli. Further, it is demonstrable that the combination of responses of a series of observers permits prediction of reaction with the precision of any other sensory system. Finally, the assertion is defended that sensory or subjective measurements should be evaluated by the same criteria used to assess physical measurements. Unfortunately, too many investigators in the past have equated “subjective” with dimensionless systems. Proper experimental attitudes will reverse this tendency and thus increase our knowledge of the too-long neglected sense of smell.
odors, olfactory, sensory evaluation, subjective measurement, psychology
Head, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Va.