Wednesday, June 22, 2022

Scents, Emotions and Memories

 One topic discussed in the book is the power of scents and how it adds emotions to our memories. Everyday we come across scents, however there is always that one scent that you come across that stops you in your tracks and forces an epiphany on you.  A memory that was once buried deep in your mind was suddenly triggered by that one scent that has forced you to recall that memory. For example, you walk by a new bakery shop down your street and a scent causes you to stop in your tracks and forces you to recall the smell of your grandma's house you once used to visit. Not only does scent have the ability to force you to recall a memory but it allows you to recall it in such vivid details and which you then become attached to that scent emotionally. This is known as Proustian Hypothesis.

Businesses and companies have taken advantage of the effects of scents and incorporated them into their own ways. In an article titled “What the nose knows” written by Colleen Walsh, Colleen quotes a 2018 article by Harvard Business Review which states “Scent branding is in vogue across a range of industries, including hotels that often pump their signature scents into rooms and lobbies.” Colleen goes on to comment how brands and companies often try to stand out from competing companies by using scents to have guests differentiate them emotionally and memorably. How are companies able to effectively pull this off? With the help of our olfactory bulb, which is a structure in the front of our brain that sends information to our body's central command.

The power of scent is what pushed Don Goldworm who is the co-founder of her “Olfactory Branding Company” who developed a thesis on olfactory branding at NYU. Goldworm states that “smell is the only fully developed sense a fetus has in the womb” as well as it being “the most developed in a child”. Goldworm makes reference to these facts because it is during our childhood where we determine what scents we like or dislike. This is where companies step in and use this to their own advantage to market themselves off by using scents that we associate with our childhood memories. If I had not come across this book I would not have known this interesting fact. Especially with companies finding new ways to appeal to all different groups of people, it is interesting to read how they use something like sent to market themselves off.

Walsh, C. (2020, February 27). How scent, emotion, and memory are intertwined - and exploited. Harvard Gazette. Retrieved June 22, 2022, from

1 comment:

  1. I feel like this affect of Proustian Hyposthesis is something that everyone experiences all the time, but we never knew it was actually something real and established or there was a real name for it. I think it is insane how just by smelling something we can be taken back to a whole different area in our lives. For me, this happens every once in a while and I am always so thrown off by it.