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“Nothing is more memorable than a smell. One scent can be unexpected, momentary and fleeting, yet conjure up a summer beside a lake in the mountains.”Diane Ackerman
Without us knowing it, our sense of smell is the most primal out of the five senses.
The slightest hint of aroma has the power to bring back memories
increase our levels of attraction and confidence.
If you want to know how fragrances accomplish all this, (or if you’re just looking for a good read), then keep that thumb ready to scroll as we break it down for you, medical style.
Your sight allows you to see what’s in front of you.
Your hearing allows you to hear what you cannot see.
Your sense of touch allows you to feel what you cannot see or hear.
And you eat daily, enter your sense of taste.
The act of smelling fragrances involves the interplay of:
- chemicals triggering receptors
- the release of a number of hormones
which awakens feelings or brings back memories long forgotten.
Our sense of smell can be difficult to comprehend, and understandably so.
According to a psychologist in an article by the American Psychological Association, the reasons behind this are because:
Mediated by the process known as olfaction, this sense allows us to perceive odors, influences our cognition and emotion, and even affects our sense of taste.
Have you ever come across a scent that just brings back the feel goods after one whiff?
The smell of pines when you enter the Pacific Northwest, the smell of sweet incense when you step out of Ngurah Rai Airport in Bali, the smell of your significant other’s sweaters…
Heck, the smell of fresh baked bread when you walk passed Subway!
The rush you feel and the memory that comes with it when you smell a fragrance is largely attributed to the fact that your sense of smell is intimately intertwined with your limbic system and endocrine system.
When we smell something, the chemical components of the fragrance act as trigger on our olfactory receptors (the cells inside the lining of your nose), which relay the scent to parts of the brain responsible for learning, regulating emotions, and storing memory.
Because the cells that interact with the fragrance lack a protective layer of glial cells, the sensory signals are processed much slower, causing them to linger in our nose even after the scent has gone.
Once they’ve managed to reach the limbic system, the fragrance is then passed on to:
When we encounter a special scent, it is initially stored in our memory banks as short-term memory. It is later converted into long-term memory by the hippocampus. It is because of this that when we come across the same fragrance for a second time, regardless of how long it’s been, the bells in your head start ringing, you get that rush of excitement, and the flood of memories start to come back.
Fragrance, Mind, and Body
Proximity of the olfactory system and limbic system also account for why certain fragrances can cause people to feel relaxed, have an effect on their heart rate, as well as a number of other responses produced by the body.
Everyone’s response to a fragrance will vary depending on how they perceive a particular scent. A scent can be pleasant and soothing to one person, while the same scent can be completely overwhelming and nauseating to another.
A study on the effects of aromatherapy on body and brain functions demonstrated that scents like lavender can have a stimulating, relaxing, and arousing effect on individuals, as evidenced by an increase or decrease in their heart rate.
Not sold yet?
A similar study reviewed literature on odor-associative learning. They concluded that odors brought back memories, increased positive emotions, decreased negative mood states, disrupted cravings, and reduced stress.
The aromatic power of fragrances extends beyond improving mood. In fact, fragrances have the ability to evoke feelings and emotions within you, as well as people around you.
Do you want to exude dominance or masculinity? Or perhaps you want to seem exotic or seductive? Associate a scent with your ambience! Luxury fragrances have been especially formulated to accentuate your most desirable traits, and convey them to other people to establish a connection.
Have you ever found yourself inexplicably drawn to a particular person and the way they smell?
The correlation of attraction and smell was demonstrated in a study
that focused on preference of the opposite sex based on scents and facial characteristics. In determining the role of scent in this study, participants were asked to smell naturally occurring scents and to rate their pleasantness. The study concluded that there was a positive relationship between women preferring masculine facial characteristics and masculine smells. Likewise, a preference for feminine face shapes corresponds to a preference for feminine smells in men.
This is further supported by a study that determined the role of sensory information in human sexual behavior. Participants were asked to answer a questionnaire regarding the importance of each of the five senses in sexual responsivity.
They found out that information acquired visually and through the sense of smell were equally important in the process of selecting a partner among men; while olfactory information was considered the single most important factor in choosing a mate for women.
In addition, the study pointed out that odor was the only factor that could negatively impact sexual arousal in females.
Our bodies produce our own natural signature perfume, but it has become common practice to enhance our natural scent with other fragrances.
A study on the perception of individual odor and perfume blends explained that fragrances interact with our body odor to create our own unique odor mixture. They found out that people chose a scent according to how well it reacts with their body odor.
On that note, fragrances heavily influence our confidence levels.
Studies have proven that the combination of our natural scent and perfume has been linked to increased self-confidence and increased attractiveness to the opposite sex.
What can we conclude about fragrances?
As you can see…
How we smell plays a big role in influencing our emotions, and how others perceive us.
And with the right scent:
Not only will you be feeling and smelling like a million bucks, but you’ll have others thinking the exact same thing.
Ciao for now and smell ya later!
This article was brought to you by
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Save your clothing, save the Earth, and smell good while doing it.
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