We are emotionally affected by scents, it is scientifically proven.
Sniph is taking a closer look at aromachology, a branch of science that has found major connections between our mood, our behavior and what the brain's scent center constantly snatches picks up from the air.
A person takes on average twenty thousand breaths every day. It gives various scents 20,000 daily opportunities to get into our noses, and from there affect us both mentally and physically.
– Almost 75 percent of all human emotions are generated by scents, physician and brain scientist Katarina Gospic explains.
The center of scents and the emotional brain
The brain's olfactory center sits a few inches into the brain, obliquely behind the corner of the eye. Physically, the nose, scent center, and brain are relatively close to each other. But also neurologically they have close bonds. In fact, there is no other sensory system that is so closely interconnected with the emotional brain and memory as the scent center in the human brain.
The amygdala and hippocampus, key players in the emotional brain and the brain's memory structure, have direct contact with the brain's olfactory center.
– That's why we are emotionally affected by smells," Dr Gospic says.
“No other sensory system is so closely interconnected with the emotional brain and our memory as the scent center in the human brain”
– DR. KATARINA GOSPIC
Memory and fragrance
Smell is the mind that affects our memory the most. The effect that fragrance plays upon us depends largely on what past memories we have. In science, it is called "associative learning" meaning that we learn to associate scents with different kinds of experiences. You probably have many memories yourself, both positive and negative, linked to scents you experienced, surely many of your strongest scent memories are founded in early childhood?
Our past experiences of a fragrance cone can easily think that there is something similar to a direct link between the nose and brain.
– But exactly how substances that get into the nose get into the brain, if they even do so, is not yet scientifically clarified, Dr Gospic stresses.
"The sense of smell is something we could use more to promote achievement and motivation"
– DR. KATARINA GOSPIC
Sense of scent for achievement and motivation
The science behind studying the physical and psychological effects of scents on human beings, is called aromachology. Studies in this field of science have so far been able to prove, among other things, that scents can definitely affect our mood, behavior and physiology.
Aromachology experiments have shown that positive scents can increase our productivity, and that unpleasant smells have the opposite effect. Positive smells that improves well-being have also been shown to enhance our problem-solving ability. There are even studies that have shown that we make fewer mistakes when exposed to fragrances that we like.
Pleasant smells, on the other hand, have been shown to impair our judgment and reduce our tolerance to frustration. And there are studies that suggest that fragrances we associate with previously experienced frustration can impair our performance if we experience the scents again.
– The sense of scent is something we could use more to promote achievement and motivation in ourselves, Dr Katarina Gospic concludes.
She encourages us all to find out more about our own sense of smell, sometimes referred to as anosmia, and our way of reacting to scents to give ourselves the opportunity to choose more desirable effects in life with the help of scent.