Have you ever caught a wiff of a scent that instantly transports you back in time? Maybe the smell of fresh baked cookies reminds you of your grandmother, or the scent of saltwater transports you to a childhood trip to the beach. Sometimes the scent brings back a pleasent memory, other times, not so much. Take my perfume for instance, Ralph Lauren Romance, I have worn this scent for many years and have always loved it. However, there are now bad memories associated with my favorite perfume, so my bottle has sat, unused, for over a year.
This is all thanks to the lovely olfactory nerve, which is located very close to the amygdala, the area of the brain that is connected to the experience of emotion as well as emotional memory. In addition, the olfactory nerve is very close to the hippocampus, which is associated with memory.
When you smell something, the olfactory nerve transports the scent to the limbic system. The limbric system supports a variety of functions including adrenaline flow, emotion, behavior, motivation, long-term memory, and olfaction. Emotional life is largely housed in the limbic system, and it has a great deal to do with the formation of memories.
It’s a fantastic system really, when you think about it, how the brain ties all of these nerves together to form so much of what truly makes a person who they really are. Without this amazing set of nerves and structures, life would most likely be QUITE BORING.
About the perfume, while I am very happy that my limbric system is functioning well, I still can not return to my old perfume. I do believe it is time for me to make a change and find a NEW favorite perfume. I’m open to suggestions and would love to see comments with specific perfumes that I could go test out!
I’m looking forward to creating a new POSITIVE memory for my olfactory gland to process!