Smell is linked to parts of the brain that process emotion and memory. Smell is also vital for survival. For humans and animals, smell enables us to track food and water, find a mate, and even alert us to danger. Although the human sense of smell is not as acute as other animals, studies say people are able to detect up to 10,000 different odor molecules.
Smell and Memory - Scent is the sense closest linked to memory. Studies have shown that people can remember a scent with 65% accuracy after 1 year while visual memory sinks to 50% after only a few months. The smells we experience play a crucial role in how we associate with memories and places. Just a whiff of a something can immediately take you back to a time or place with vivid memories.
Smell and Emotion - In addition to being the sense most closely linked to memory, smell is also highly emotive. The perfume industry is built around this connection, with perfumers developing fragrances that seek to convey a vast array of emotions and feelings; from desire to power, vitality to relaxation.
Smell and Attraction - Smell is extremely important when it comes to attraction between two people. Research has shown that our body odor, produced by the genes which make up our immune system, can help us subconsciously choose our partners.
Smell and Productivity - Our senses of smell can even affect productivity in work environments. Specific smells have been found to increase alertness which in turn results in higher productivity rates. One study found that when lemon oil was diffused throughout a Japanese office building, productivity among data entry operators increased by 54%. Scents can also be used to ward off mid-afternoon brain fog by revving your concentration levels.
Smell and Taste - Everyone has had a cold and their nose is completely blocked to the point they can't smell anything. Did you also notice that during that time, you weren’t as hungry and your food didn’t taste as good? That’s because taste and smell as closely linked to the same parts of the brain.Being able to smell your food has an impact on how it tastes to you.
The importance of smell and the impact of scents on us is why aromatherapy has such gained popularity. Aromatherapy is the practice of using the natural oils extracted from flowers, bark, stems, leaves, roots or other parts of a plant to enhance psychological and physical well-being.