Rachel Herz, Ph.D.: March 20, 2018


Hunter Hamm, Age 8, from Eagle River, Alaska Wins the 2018 National Odor-Eaters® Rotten Sneaker Contest® 




Rachel Herz, Ph.D.

Neuroscientist and leading world expert on the psychological science of smell


Scientists thought that the human nose could only detect about 10,000 different smells, but recently that number increased dramatically to approximately one trillion distinct scents. Some of the most pleasant scents include vanilla, cinnamon, crayons, and cookies. But what about those unpleasant smells? Participants at the National Odor-Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest are raising a stink by showing off their foul-smelling sneakers at this annual event.

Kids are known for getting into some stinky messes, and children from across the country competed at this year’s contest hosted at Ripley’s Believe It Or Not! Times Square for a chance to win the national title and $2,500. But only one pair of sneakers could be crowned the winner and they belonged to Hunter Hamm, Age 8 from Eagle River, Alaska.

In this interview, you’ll speak with neuroscientist and leading world expert on the psychological science of smell, Dr. Rachel Herz who will talk more about the contest and how he uses his acute scent of smell to determine a winner. She’ll be joined by the winner, Hunter who will let listeners know just how they got their sneakers so dirty!

For more information please visit www.odor-eaters.com



Rachel Herz, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist and leading world expert on the psychological science of smell. She has been conducting research on the sense of smell, emotion, perception, motivated behavior and cognition since 1990.  Dr. Herz has published 82 original research papers, received numerous awards and grants, co-authored scholarly handbooks, and is an adjunct professor in the Medical School of Brown University and part-time faculty in the Department of Psychology at Boston College.   She is also a professional consultant to various industries regarding smell, taste, food and flavor, and is frequently called upon as an expert witness in legal cases involving olfaction.  Dr. Herz is the author of several academic and popular science books including the college textbook Sensation & Perception (Oxford University Press) now in its 5th edition, The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell (2007; Harper Collins,) which was selected as a finalist for the “2009 AAAS Prize for Excellence in Science Books,” That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion (2012; W.W. Norton & Co), which analyzes the emotion of disgust from culture to neuroscience, and her latest book Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship with Food (2017; W.W. Norton & Co), which explores how our senses and psychology govern our perception of food, and the experiences and consequences of eating.


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