Smell & Memory

Austin Spikes & Trey Fountain


Why did we choose this topic? We chose this topic because we wanted to learn more about why our memory gets triggered when we smell certain scents. For example you smell a certain food and it reminds you of your mother's cooking when you were younger.

How it works

Smell and memory are a powerful link. When you smell a certain scent it brings back a memory almost instantly. Why? Because your brain links that smell with a person, thing, or even a moment of time. The olfactory bulb has instant access to the amygdala which processes emotions.

The Brain

The reason this process occurs is because of the limbic system which consists of the Frontal Lobe, Thalamus, Hippocampus, Amygdala, Hypothalamus, and the Olfactory Bulb. When you smell something the odor triggers your chemoreceptor that then sends a message to the olfactory nerve. Most sensory messages have to go through the thalamus, but smells do not. Not everything in the limbic system is being used, like the thalamus, they are failing but still play a role in the process.

Research & psychologist

There has not been one specific psychologist for this topic. Some research says that depending on which nerve fibers capture odors an activity pattern is started which creates a certain smell then brings up a memory.
How Smells Trigger Memories

Interesting Facts

Your noses scent cells are renewed every month so at the beginning of every month your nose gets better. Smell is the most sensitive, or the most accurate sense. It is also the first to develop when we are born. Finally The sense of smell stops improving when we reach about 18 or 19 years old.