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Why Smells Can Trigger Strong Memories

Story at-a-glance -

  • Odor-evoked autobiographical memory describes the vivid emotional memories often triggered by various scents
  • Odors are especially effective as reminders of past experience, much more so than cues from other senses, such as sights or sounds
  • Smells (but not sounds, sights, or touch) get routed through your olfactory bulb, the smell-analyzing region in your brain that’s closely connected to brain regions that handle memory and emotion

By Dr. Mercola

You catch a whiff of pumpkin pie, school glue, newspaper, or fresh-cut grass and suddenly you’re immersed in a flurry of vivid memories, often from your childhood. What is it about smells that can trigger memories so strong and real it feels like you’ve been transported back in time?


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