Is the vivid reliving of events from the past through sensory stimuli
“There are certain things in life we simply don’t forget
Scents emulate memories, feelings and aid wellbeing
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scents, Smell Good, Feel Good, Live Well and Let’s Create
Some Unforgettable Memories”
FOUNDER / CEO & CREATIVE DIRECTOR
In fashion, Proust nails the phenomenon of “involuntary memory”. This is the way that a sensory experience can suddenly bring back a hidden recollection.
This is now seen as critical insight into how the senses work – particularly in scent and olfaction. This is because the smell is the most ‘buried’ of all the reasons. It bypasses the thalamus, which receives the sensory information and works directly on the hippocampus and amygdala—these parts of the brain deal with emotional memory.
Also, olfactory memories tend to come from earlier in life than other means. And as Proust found, they are deep and complex. Hard to identify and harder to put into words, but intensely powerful.
An experimental method was used to investigate this in bad memories, similar to those experienced by patients with posttraumatic stress disorder. Seventy healthy participants watched a horror film while simultaneously being exposed to olfactory, auditory and visual triggers, which were matched on intensity, arousal and salience. During a second session one week later, participants were randomly exposed to one of the three triggers and asked to think back about the film and rate the resulting memory. Results revealed that odour-evoked memories of aversive events were more detailed.