Functions of Smell

In the current issue of Wired (May 2014) there’s a brief article on Menssana Research and their efforts to detect sickness from breath samples. According to their website, they do NOT provide diagnostic tests for disease but instead a breath test to tell you if you don’t need to get more tests. So, for example, in the case of a lung cancer test, if the breath test is negative, the person need not go for additional tests. If the test is positive, then additional testing (such as a chest CT) is needed.  We do something similar when we make judgments about someone having, say, an upset stomach from their bad breath.
So, in The Nonverbal Communication Book the four functions of smell that I identify--to attract others, to aid taste, to aid memory, and to create an image—need to be increased to add: to detect illness and well-being.

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