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Does it pass the smell test? Neuroscience of zombie smells

November 4, 2012

Cleaning out the refrigerator after a five day blackout, is everything garbage or is there a more appropriate litmus test. Does it even matter what it smells like? And how long should I wait for the bleach smell to leave before putting new food in? Surely the vinegar didn’t go bad, right?! Did the outside of the bottle get contaminated with the little bit of mold on the cheese?

Meanwhile, “Smell the Coffee: Where’s your brain with regard to zombies?” by Karin Fuller, writing:

“Can someone please explain this zombie apocalypse nonsense?” one woman asked. “Are people for real?”

And on YouTube, asapSCIENCE posted “Zombie Apocalypse Science” including some good neuroscience vocabulary and suggestions of an airborne pathogen causing zombie condition. The video refers to the plausibility of zombies and considers rabies like viruses that target specific neurons. The video argues that the olfactory nerve “leads directly to some areas of the brain that can cause zombified effects” (hypothalamus, amygdala, frontal cortex):

I am reminded of retail stores using scents to stimulate consumer behavior. We intuitively understand the importance of aroma in entering a restaurant but what is the aroma of creativity? “Can you smell what The Rock is cooking?” Recall another recent zombie neuroscience cartoon and also more ZombieLaw neuroscience.

Finally, consider that all this brain science reduces aspects of individual freedom and personal responsibility. How strong must the odor be, for my reaction to overpower any illusion of self-control. Isn’t it all my mind and these merely components of the same interacting mass and might the larger emergent picture be more important than the isolated parts? See the following image from Windsor Beacon “From zombies to sheep, brains teach lessons at Clearview Library“, maybe it all does the same thing and we should focus interventions on the higher emergent level of the whole person. Notice in this image, there are lots of zombie brain parts, but they all do the same thing (“eat the living”):

zombie brain parts

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