Have you ever wondered why smell can bring back so many memories? Why the smell of freshly mown grass makes you think of summer? Or why the smell of chlorine makes you remember that swimming pool you used to go to?
There is an amazing link between the olfactory system and the hippocampus, the part of the brain that is responsible of associative learning and the amygdala, the part of the brain in charge of emotions. Whenever we feel a familiar smell, we’re flooded with the memory of it: the first time we smelled it, the circumstances, whether we liked it or not. In fact, smell triggers memories because they are conditioned responses.
The first time you smell a new scent you automatically associate it with something: a person, an event or even a moment in your life, causing your brain to forge a link between the smell and the memory. That’s why when you smell pie, you can automatically remember the person who used to make it for you. When you smell something you don’t like, your mood can change and you can feel uneasy. Marcel Proust, a famous and respected French author, depicts in his novel “In Search of a Lost Time” a character pining after his childhood after smelling a madeleine.
What’s more, the ability to smell is highly linked to memory. Studies have shown that whenever areas of the brain that are responsible with memory are damaged in some way, the ability to smell is impaired. Without the ability to remember a certain scent one might find it difficult to smell it.
Smell and memory have an unbreakable bond. What do you remember when you smell pumpkin pie?
References: howstuffworks.com, psychology.com. Photo Source: bbc.com
Top incoming search terms:
- Smell and Memory Connection
- how smell and memory are connected
- impressive title out of memory