The perception of smell is not only about the scents that the nose detects. There are always emotions and thoughts that can be connected with particular scents. A person who smells chocolate chip cookies can immediately feel sadness or sorrow if he or she has had a grand mom pass recently that always made that type of cookie. In a sense, our olfactory receptors tell us what scents we will like or dislike, depending on the emotions that are associated with it. So how are emotions so closely tied to scents?
Our olfactory receptors our connected to our limbic system, which is considered to be the “seat of emotion.” From the limbic system, scents are sent to the cortex, where a person will experience cognitive memories and stimulation. Our brains tells us exactly what memories are linked to which scents.
In terms of mood affects and scents, our expectations play a major role. If a person expects a donut to smell good, it more than likely will. Having a positive scent of something has an influence on the mood a person is in. Pleasant fragrances are also involved in how we perceive other people and act toward them. If a person always smells pleasant, another individual is more likely to be around them than a person who smells. Flowers are another example. People give others flowers because they have an attractive smell and it attracts one person to another. Guys take advantage of this olfactory secret by buying women flowers on a first date. The nose just knows.