I am wondering why we remember smells better than most everything else. It is strange how it works, maybe not with you but with me. I can’t actually smell a memory. I can’t physically conjure up a smell from the past. But, if I do happen to get a whiff of that smell, I can instantly remember that I smelled that odor before and can sometimes connect it with a pleasant or unpleasant situation. Therefore, a smell from the past must be programmed into my long term memory.
The sense of smell is a huge part of taste. When you have a bad cold and can’t smell anything, do you remember how bland your food tasted? Yes, you could taste salty, sweet, and sour, but the delicate taste and aroma of the food was missing. You didn’t have much of an appetite, did you? The sense of smell is important to our appetites and choices of the things we eat. I knew a fellow who used to sell BBQ. He would set up in a location where the breeze would carry the BBQ aroma across an intersection that had either a red light or a four way stop. When the drivers smelled the aroma, they instantly got hungry for BBQ. I have even heard of some grocery stores that have piped in food aromas around the area that had the food displayed that matched the aroma. There sells of those items went way up.
The sense of smell and the memory of smells is a defense mechanism in living creatures, ourselves included. There was a study done with mice, and it was determined that mice smell the breath of other mice to determine what they had eaten and since they were still active, that it was a safe food. This information was stored in temporary memory and then transferred to the long term memory. In mice where the scientists had separated the long term section of the brain from the short term section, they soon forgot and stopped eating the test food. The mice that were not altered continued to enjoy the test food. This proved that the sense of smell is stored in long term memory.
Now, let me sit back and remember that favorite dish of mine. . . dang, I am really starting to get hungry. Got to go see what I can dig up to eat.
You all have a good day and don’t eat too much. Just hold your nose. . .