Episode 25: How Smell, Taste & Pheromone-Like Chemicals Control You | Huberman Lab

Key Takeaways

  • Our whole nervous system is designed to move us toward or away from things
  • Smell, taste, and ability to sense the chemical state of others has a profound influence on who we spend time with
  • Innate odor responses signal a call to action and elicit alertness in the brain – we know to go away from smoke or fire and towards fresh baked cookies
  • Smell is closely tied to memory
  • You can train yourself to have a better sense of smell by sniffing deeply through your nose 10-15 times, then smelling something with a strong scent (such as an orange or mint)
  • Olfactory dysfunction is common in traumatic brain injuries and can be a sign of progress in recovery
  • It’s possible we have a 6th taste receptor to detect fat in addition to the 5 traditional taste receptors we know (sweet, sour, bitter, umami/savory, salty)
  • The specifics of human pheromone chemicals are unknown but it is clear that some form of chemical-chemical signaling between humans exists


Dr. Andrew Huberman, Ph.D. is a Professor of Neurobiology and Ophthalmology at Stanford University School of Medicine. His lab focuses on neural regeneration, neuroplasticity, and brain states such as stress, focus, fear, and optimal performance.

In this this episode of Huberman Lab, Dr. Huberman explains how we sense smell, taste, and pheromone-like chemicals. He breaks down the 3 types of responses to smell, the 5 types of taste, and even how to use our senses to improve learning, focus, taste and cognition.

Andrew Huberman PhD puts on an in depth masterclass on biology of smell, breathing and taste. You don’t want to miss this one and he’ll even teach you  how to improve your sense of smell and alter how you perceive different foods! 

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