Memory and Fragrance
Have you ever noticed that a particular scent can trigger a rush of vivid memories? The smell of cakes baking might remind you of spending time at your grandmother's house when you were a small child. The scent of a particular perfume might remind you of a romantic liaison.
Why does smell seem to act as such a powerful memory trigger?
First, the olfactory nerve is located very close to the amygdala, the area of the brain that is connected to the experience of emotion as well as emotional memory. In addition, the olfactory nerve is very close to the hippocampus, which is associated with memory.
The actual ability to smell is highly linked to memory. Research has shown that when areas of the brain connected to memory are damaged, the ability to identify smells is actually impaired. In order to identify a scent, you must remember when you have smelled it before and then connect it to visual information that occurred at the same time. According to some research, studying information in the presence of an odour actually increases the vividness and intensity of that remembered information when you smell it again. We can relive both happy and unhappy memories through the powerful tool of smell.
In my latest novel, Making Scents, Kristin stumbles across a blend of essential oils when offering her client a treatment in her salon. The client remarks to Kristin that the fragrance reminds her of her mother's perfume. At the end of the treatment, both therapist and client feel euphoric. Kristin has discovered a blend for a perfume with a difference and knows that she must bottle it. Should she listen to her sensible husband and keep her skin care company as a cottage industry or should she go global?
Find out! Making Scents is available on Amazon as an eBook or paperback.