The Nose Knows: Scent, Emotion, and Memory

The Nose Knows: Scent, Emotion, and Memory

By Kimberly Seals

Nothing can send you on a trip down memory lane quite like a familiar scent. But have you ever wondered why that is and why it’s so important? Well wonder no longer because Elle Vie has the answers to why our sense of smell is so scent-sational.

Making Sense

You might think that sight or maybe even touch would be the strongest sense that we have as humans, but it’s actually smell! In fact, smell is the only fully developed sense that we have in the womb.

This strong link to smell is probably why we have around 1,000 different types of smell receptors in contrast to around 4 types of receptors that we have for other senses like touch and smell. Our sense of smell is so strong that most of what we attribute to taste and flavor is actually our sense of smell. In short, the nose really knows. But why is that?

How it works

The short answer to how our sense of smell works is, it’s complicated. But here’s the short, long answer.

When you use any of your other 5 senses (sight, hearing, taste, or touch), that sensory information makes a pit stop in the thalamus where the information is then sent to the appropriate part of your brain. But scent works differently. When you smell something, that sensory information gets to skip the line and goes straight to your olfactory bulb which is directly connected to your memory (hippocampus) and emotions (amygdala).

With this direct connection to your memory and emotion, it’s no wonder that smell can instantly trigger vivid scenes and feelings from your past. Luckily, we can utilize our powerful sense of smell for our own benefit.

Why it Matters

A scent can be so much more than just the way something smells. The right scent can elevate your mood, bring back forgotten feelings, and connect you to your loved ones in a unique way.

That’s why Elle Vie always strives to pair our butters and oils with scents that leave an impression. So put on your Elle Vie and go make some beautiful memories.