When was the last time you smelled something and a wave of nostalgia hit? Maybe it’s the smell of warm cinnamon rolls that take you back to your mother’s cooking, or the smell of freshly mowed grass that reminds you of the time long ago when you played club sports. Scents have a strong relationship with memories, rooted in the science of our bodies.
Of our 5 senses, 4 of them are processed by the Thalamus in the brain. However, smell is not. Instead, smell is received by a branch of the Hippocampus (which processes memories) and the Amygdala (which processes emotions). Because the way we experience scent is intertwined with our memory center, smelling a specific aroma can bring us back to a time long past. Because of this, scent is the most powerful of the senses.
Although scent is a very interesting function of the human body and certainly our favorite of the 5 senses, it’s largely under-appreciated. We’ve compiled some fun facts about scent so that perhaps it will become your favorite feature, too.
-Humans are theorized to have approximately 10 million scent receptors and have the capability to smell 1 trillion different scents
-Thanks to the additional moisture in the air during the spring and summer, our sense of smell becomes stronger during these times, making it easier to identify different scents
-In a study performed by scentbird.com, 65 percent of females said that they prefer males who wear fragrances with cedar tones
-Perfume has been dated back more than 4,000 years ago, to ancient Mesopotamia. Its initial purpose was to scare off evil spirits.
-It’s possible to smell emotions (namely those of fear, disgust, or anxiety) as our sweat emits different odors depending on our stress levels and emotional responses to certain triggers.
-When infants are born, their eyesight is particularly bad. So instead of sight, they recognize mothers by the way she smells.
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