Why Does This Smell Familiar?
Smells & Memories By: Paige Rome
Why did i chose smells and memories?
Why is smell related to memory?
What happens in the brain?
What parts of the brain are failing?
Most of the time when we try and remember a smell but we can't seem to put finger on it, its mainly because our hippocampus is failing to remember the memory. Depending on when this memory takes place, we may or may not remember the memory.
Scientists say that formation of autobiographical memory peaks between the ages of 15 and 30. This theory makes sense because between these ages, many people experience things they won't forget such as going to college, getting married ect... Another theory is the Marcel Proust theory that smells have the most power to help us recall distant memories. Proust wrote a novel on a character that vividly recalls long-forgotten memories from his childhood after smelling a tea-soaked madeleine biscuit.
Research and experiments
Smellbound: An Olfactory Memory Experiment
A man conducted a blind smell experiment using smells that had been picked and printed via micro-encapsulation. He asked participants to close their eyes and describe the smell and guess what they are smelling. They were then asked to talk about a memory that comes to mind. They had their eyes closed so that they would not be influenced by what was on the card. Their responses were recorded. The man who conducted this experiment asked them additional questions, such as when the memory was, or if they had a hard time identifying it, to describing the smell or tell about associations with it. In between sniffing the cards, they had the option of smelling a hot cup of coffee to clear their sinuses, or to pause for a bit to take some fresh air.