What Is the Function of the Olfactory System?

The main function of the olfactory system, which is also known as the sense of smell, is to detect and perceive the chemicals that are floating in the air. The mucus membranes work to dissolve the chemicals in the air and these molecules carry the chemicals to the olfactory receptors in the brain.

When an individual has a stuffy nose, it is hard for the receptors to carry the information from the chemicals to the brain, thus the sense of smell is hindered. Some individuals have no sense of smell, which is commonly referred to as anosmia and can be caused by a head injury.