Sense and scentability: The connection between scent and memory

Posted: January 26, 2018 | By: Stephanie Eng

Have you ever smelled a familiar scent and remembered a comforting experience or an exciting event? With just a whiff, it’s almost as if you’ve been transported back in time. And sometimes, you’ll even feel a rush of emotion that makes this link between scent and memory feel even more intense.

What’s actually happening?

The brain and olfactory system, or your sense of smell, may be closely connected. Odor receptors in the nose send information about smells to the olfactory bulb, a cluster of tissues above the eyes. The olfactory bulb is connected directly to the amygdala, the brain’s center of emotions. It’s also connected to the hippocampus, a part of the brain associated with memory.

The link between scent and memory

Over the last 20 years, several studies explored the connection between scent and memory. Research conducted by Dr. Rachel Herz, Ph.D and her colleagues at Brown University discovered test subjects preferred fragrances associated with personal memories. In the study, 271 American women received four scented body lotions to use for a week. Before using them, they completed a survey and rated each lotion for “pleasantness, intensity, familiarity, uniqueness and the degree to which these elicited personal memories.”

The results were fascinating—the more intense the memory, the more appealing the fragrance. Even if two scents were rated as equally pleasant, women preferred the smell with a stronger connection to a personal memory. This suggested a significant link between the power of scent and its effect on the brain.

The power of fragrance

You’re always making connections between smells and memories, whether you realize it or not. Consider the familiar fragrance of your loved one’s favorite cologne or perfume. There’s a strong possibility that smelling that specific scent will remind you of them.

To make this Valentine’s Day extra memorable, try diffusing a fresh and aromatic scent to create the perfect atmosphere. Our three new Essential Oil Diffuser Blend Kits, featured in the Valentine’s Day Gift Guide, make wonderful gifts. Choose from the Energy Diffuser Blend Kit, the Focus Diffuser Blend Kit, or the Calming Diffuser Blend Kit. Each kit includes four unique essential oil blends with incredible scents for any occasion. Just place a few drops of oil into the well of your essential oil diffuser and enjoy!

Energy Diffuser Blend Kit

Featuring the bright and uplifting elements of citrus fruits, the oils included in our Energy Diffuser Blend Kit are the perfect choice anytime you need a little pick-me-up.

Focus Diffuser Blend Kit

Pick a distraction-free space to accomplish your goals, then concentrate on your day with the warm, earthy scents from the oils in this kit.

Calming Diffuser Blend Kit

Create a soothing and relaxing environment by diffusing these blends, which feature fresh herbal, mellow floral, and energizing citrus aromas.

Take full advantage of this amazing connection by being mindful of your surroundings. Something as simple as the soft fragrance of a flower in a bouquet, the delicious aroma of your favorite meal, or the familiar scent of your spouse’s shampoo can stick in your memory. The next time you encounter them, you might be surprised at what you remember!

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