Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The scent

Color of scent*google photo

I was going home last night--when abruptly I smelled a perfume scent. That scent  reminds me of few people or a random person whom I met before. I indefinitely point out from where. That occasion rarely happen to me but I'm sure it has a significance. I make do an agile research about it and I'm definitely right- sense of smell is related with past's essential experiences. This is the scientific inquiry about it:

Smell and memory are closely linked. Smell evokes memories. Damage to the temporal cortical region of the brain - the site of memory - does not affect the ability to detect smell, but, rather, prevents the identification of the odour. We must first remember a smell before identifying it. We smell (or taste something) before a negative experience, that smell (or taste) is linked to that experience. The memory is very robust.

What we know about smell and memory:
  • Memory - odour memory falls off less rapidly that other sensory memory (Miles & Jenkins, 2000)
  • Odour memory lasts a long time.
  • The "Proust effect" - Marcel Proust has lent his name to the phenomenon of memory recall in response to a specific smell (after his descrition of such an event in "Swan's Way") - the "Proust Effect". Whole memories, complete with all associated emotions, can be prompted by smell. This is entirely unconscious and cannot necessarily be prompted voluntarily although countless studies have shown that recall can be enhanced if learning was done in the presence of an odour and that same odour is presented at the time of recall.

Does it mean a person who suffered from Amnesia can regain his memory best through his/her sense of smell?

How about a girl who can't take off the hospital utensils's smell after a long time of staying beside her sick dad?

A girl who once again smelled her ex-boyfriend's scent from someone else?

A man who wants to go home immediately after his wife would tell him their food for dinner?

How Jewel's (our dog) not-so-good odor alarmed me and my family.

There are many questions that popped up from my mind, because sometimes among the senses--this is the least given of importance.

So the next time, you're reminded of something else, maybe sense of smell can lead you into that valued memories.

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