Why Smell and Flavor Trigger Memories

Perfume. Pancakes. Pink erasers. Have you noticed how certain smells bring back vivid memories? There's a reason why, according to this neuroscience professor.👃

A simple smell or of taste will bring back this memory quite vividly

Why do certain smells or tastes trigger memories? Stuart Firestein, a neuroscience professor at Columbia University, has studied the olfactory system for over 35 years. Memories from a smell or flavor are usually strong and emotional. “Most of what we call taste is really flavor. It's about 80% due to your olfactory system when you chew food up, you send vapors up the backside of your palate onto your nasal epithelium we call it, and then the cells in your nose which smell it. We don't smell something and remember a page of text or a phone number of formulas anything useful like that, we always have these emotionally-laden memories — your grandmother's basement or kitchen, your first lover, or the first day of school. In Alzheimer's patients or patients suffering from forms of dementia where they have trouble forming new memories especially, but where old memories still exist, you can treat them to odors that would be part of their old there older life as it were, their past life — perfumes they wore or foods they cooked. Some of these memories are similar in some ways to PTSD, post-traumatic stress syndrome. Where in the case of olfactory memories, a simple smell or of taste will bring back this memory quite vividly,” Dr. Firestein explains

Dr. Stuart Firestein is the Chair of Columbia University's Department of Biological Sciences. His colleagues and he study the vertebrate olfactory receptor neuron as a model for investigating general principles and mechanisms of "signal transduction" — the ways in which chemicals, such as neurotransmitters, hormones, and peptides with membrane receptors, exert their influence in the brain and nervous system. He hypothesizes that the olfactory neuron is uniquely suited for these studies since it is designed specifically for the detection and discrimination of a wide variety of small organic molecules, like odors.


09/08/2019 1:58 PM
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  • Mandy A.
    09/08/2019 14:17

    So very true. Smell can bring back so many memories. Good and bad. I will always remember the horrible smell of the hospital when my mother was dying,But was back in the 60s. They don't smell like that now thank god. The smell of going to different Countries, an old perfume you ware, freshly mown grass. The smell of your new babies head.

  • Zufishan G.
    09/08/2019 14:53

    "Odours have a power of persuasion stronger than that of words, appearances, emotions or will. The persuasive power of an odour cannot be fended off, it enters into us like breath into our lungs, it fills us up, imbues us totally. There is no remedy for it." "This perfume was not like any perfume known before. It was not a scent that made things smell was completely new, capable of creating a whole world, a magical, rich world, and in an instant you forgot all the loathsomeness around you and felt so rich, so at ease, so free, so fine..." Patrick Süskind Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

  • Na I.
    09/08/2019 16:55

    I thought it was because the part of the brain that deals with smell, also deals with long term memory. That's why if you want to make a long term memory, try to involve smell if you can.

  • Jean B.
    09/08/2019 22:26

    Cuando traducen?

  • Brut
    09/09/2019 01:15

    What smells and tastes bring back memories for you?

  • Kathleen O.
    09/09/2019 15:10

    My daughter asked me to keep my old electrolux vaccuum because when you turned it on it produced a smell (not unpleasant) that reminded her of when her Dad was alive

  • Bibek L.
    09/12/2019 03:51

    He got his brother in Gag Just for laugh.

  • Laila J.
    09/13/2019 01:49

    Khalid JB

  • Cammy R.
    09/14/2019 03:47

    I mean why most stuff i can't even remember i had when instarted to smell something familiar, it kind of reminded on something i did!! Spooky😱😳

  • Cree V.
    09/14/2019 22:53

    JullienneMoselle Alcones

  • Ska
    09/15/2019 11:33


  • Dawigoy R.
    09/16/2019 01:44

    maybe ull gonna need diz

  • Neha V.
    09/17/2019 03:52

    this is why

  • Deolindoarturteixeira D.
    09/17/2019 16:57


  • Yasmine C.
    09/18/2019 00:08


  • Margarita R.
    09/21/2019 22:16

    Que importante es esa forma que tenemos los humanos de siempre oler las comidas. Muy interesante.

  • Daw T.
    09/22/2019 15:38


  • Ramesh M.
    09/27/2019 11:27


  • Jolie J.
    09/27/2019 22:24

    C'est mentionné dans le Saint Coran ça fait plus de 1400 ans .

  • Lenard E.
    09/28/2019 06:13

    Amo ng Maggi beef dati😂