It’s no big surprise that our brains can process odors without the intervention of our conscious minds, but a study published earlier this year showed just how sophisticated that process can be. Specifically, brain scans showed that women responded differently when they smelled the sweat of sexually aroused males, even though almost none of the women were consciously able to identify the smell as sweat.
Understanding how events occur in the brain - how we come to an “aha!” insight, how we make a decision, and so on - fascinates neuroscientists. And anyone interested in neuromarketing can’t help but wonder how we decide between two products, or whether to buy a product at all. And, since we like to believe we are thinking beings, just how rational are those decisions?