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Smart smells

Here’s an interesting study on cognition and memory as it relates to our olfactory (smell) sense.

Could our brain respond to fragrance by increasing cognitive performance? It turns out yes. Smart smells is actually a thing.

It’s no secret that smell is connected to emotion and memory. Have you ever smelt the scent of an old partners perfume or aftershave and been taken right back? Or had the smell of the ocean or trees remind you of a holiday or your home country? Our sense of smell is actually the only sense not filtered before we experience it. By that I mean that what we smell has a direct link to our brain without being altered by our attention filters. So this piece of research makes sense. But the application of the idea is new and potentially promising for people as they age.


Improve cognition with smart smells


This study proposed that having people use a  series of different scented oils a couple of hours before bed each night might stimulate the brain. Because one of the first senses we lose as we age is the sense of smell. And a sensory rich environment is key to keeping senses sharp. In fact in animals, creating an environment with different odours had already been shown to stimulate neuroplasticity.

And the results of this study were significant. It seems that the use of this technique stimulated the connections between memory and decision making.

The group that used different scents each night had a 226% better result in cognitive tests afterwards than the control group. Quite impressive. Smart smells here we come. 🙂