Does the smell of a certain food bring you back to memories of your Mom cooking when you were a child? Maybe you dislike the smell of lilies because of your association of lilies with funerals? The link between aroma and memories is a strong one! A smell can bring up a flood of memories, influence moods, and even affect work performance. The olfactory bulb for smelling is part of the limbic system of the brain, an area associated closely with memory. The limbic system is sometimes called the emotional brain because a smell can bring up memories and powerful responses almost instantly.
The olfactory bulb is connected to the amygdala, which processes emotion. It is also connected to the hippocampus, which is responsible for associative learning. Despite these connections, smells would not be able to trigger memories if it weren’t for conditioned responses. The first time you encounter a new smell, you link it to an event, person, thing, or moment. Your brain forges a link between the smell and memory- like chlorine or charcoal on a grill with summer time. The next time you encounter the smell, the link is still there, ready to bring up a memory or mood! For this reason, if you associated lilies with a funeral, they might agitate you without you recognizing why! This is part of why we don’t all like the same smells!
Aroma and memory are closely connected, and this can also be used for marketing! For example, when showing a home, some times realtors will bake cookies or a pie. Scents can be so pleasing to us, which is why candles, air freshener sprays, wax melts, and other scented items are so popular! Here at Advanced Aesthetics we love essential oils and the line of skin care products we carry are lightly and pleasantly fragranced! Come in for a sniff test of our fine products today!