The science of smell & memoryJune 24th 2019

woman holding bunch of lavender to her nose whilst in a field of lavender

The science of smell & memory

“Smell is a potent wizard that transports you across thousands of miles and all the years lived.”

Helen Keller

Here’s a little science lesson for you on the sense of smell & memory

When the smell receptors are stimulated in the nasal mucosa they enter the tiny holes where they enter the olfactory bulb in the brain. The signals are then carried to a part of the brain called the limbic system where the smells are then analyzed.

What you perceive as an odour, is really the chemical particles that were stimulated. The brain can analyze over 10,000 different fragrances!

A smell can bring on a flood of memories, influence people’s moods and even affect their work performance. Because the olfactory bulb is part of the brain’s limbic system, an area so closely associated with memory and feeling it’s sometimes called the “emotional brain”

Smell can call up memories and powerful responses almost instantaneously.

Think about the memories you have for when you smell something that reminds you of your childhood or something familiar. When you first smell a new scent, you immediately link it to an event, a person, a thing or even an event. Your smell calls up that memory and evokes that emotional response.

Smell has a powerful influence on the nervous system. Fragrance can influence mood, evoke emotions, counteract stress or even reduce high blood pressure.

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