The Mighty Smell

Wednesday, 30 June, 2010

The Mighty Smell

Smell Deeply Moves.

The sense of smell is directly connectes with the center of the emotional control of our brain. Thus, a scent can generate responses with a powerful influence in our behaviour.

Sensations perceived by means of the sense of smell reach the olfactory bulb, a structure of the vertebrate forebrain involved in olfaction, the perception of odours. Olfactory information reaches first the most primary regions of our brain: the limbic system and the hypothalamus. They process emotions, feelings, instincts and impulses. It also stores memories and regulates the release of hormones. Thus, scents have an enormous power to modify directly our behaviour and even our body functions.

Only after this first step, the olfactory information is processed in the Cerebral cortexand it can reach conscience, reasoning and verbalization. This is the reason why it is so difficult to describe smells with words and very often the influence of scents remains only at a subconscious level.

Since scents are strongly related to memory, we can remember them for our whole life. A smell can evoke vivid memories, in what is called ‘The Proust Effect’.


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