Smells connect to memories more than other senses

"The smell of fresh chopped parsley may evoke a grandmother's cooking, or a whiff of a cigar may evoke a grandfather's presence," says author.

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  • The right scent can conjure up a memory more powerfully than most anything else.
  • People who lose their sense of smell often develop symptoms of depression.
  • While other senses connect to the brain's memory center indirectly, the olfactory cortex has a direct line.
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    Your body image can be influenced by smells and sounds

    Research finds that our sense of self can be manipulated by certain smells and sounds.

    Credit: Olek/Tim UR/kolesnikovserg/Adobe Stock/Big Think
    • Researchers find that there are smells that make us feel thinner and lighter, and other smells that do the opposite.
    • The sounds of our footsteps can have a similar effect.
    • The researchers suggest that sensory stimuli play a part in our self-image and may be subject to beneficial manipulation.
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    Does scent motivate your workouts? The answer could be yes

    Mice will even run on a wheel in nature. Pheromones help inspire that behavior.

    Photo: Viacheslav Iakobchuk / Adobe Stock
    • University of California, Riverside researchers discovered a link between scent and fitness motivation in mice.
    • The vomeronasal organ is activated by the smell of pheromones, influencing sexual behavior and cardiovascular activity.
    • While there's no proof the same connection exists in humans, at least one elite athlete believes a link exists.
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    This is your brain on smells

    A new study explores how the brain encodes different scents — a topic which scientists know relatively little about, compared to our other senses.

    • Unlike sight and hearing, our sense of smell remains poorly understood.
    • In a new study, scientists used machine learning to categorize thousands of different odors based on chemical properties.
    • By exposing mice to odors and measuring their neural activity, the scientists found that the brain more closely groups together odors that are chemically similar.
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    A new perfume can help you smell like space

    Ever want to smell like an astronaut? Now you can!

    Eau De Space
    • After years of trying, a group has produced the smell of outer space in a perfume.
    • Astronauts have described the smell of space as similar to "ozone," "gunpowder," and "fried steak."
    • Exactly what causes the scent is still debated.
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