7 Ways Smells Affect Our Mind

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The olfactory receptor, or smell receptor, is a protein capable of binding odor molecules that play a central role in the sense of smell (olfaction). According to the SIRC, while a rabbit has 100 million of these olfactory receptors and a dog — 220 million, humans have only about 5 or 6 million of them. But this amount of them is enough to have quite a bit of control over our lives.

Bright Side would like to show you how the sense of smell affects our brain and changes our attitude to certain things.

1. It enhances tastes.

Our taste sense tells us whether the food is salty, bitter, sour, sweet, or savory. Our nose is really the one who knows whether the food is tasty or not. It smells the food while we eat and sends messages to our brainwhich combine them with the taste receptors and enhance the experience.

2. It makes you feel attractive.

We all tend to buy perfumes to be more appealing. But what we don’t know is that it’s not actually the smell itself that attracts other people. A recent study has shown that putting on perfume makes us more confident and that’s what really makes us stunning.

3. It lets you travel through time.

Smells trigger memories and emotions connected to different memories. They give us the feeling of “being brought back in time.” There is even a number of scientific studies which demonstrate that smells activate more intensive emotional memories than pictures. While we lose 50% of our visual memories within months, most of the new smell memories will still be there a year later.

4. It affects your mood.

As well as bringing back memories, smell can trigger emotions and moods. It happens on a subconscious level of our mind. Sometimes we cannot understand why we suddenly have become so anxious or angry. This is what aromatherapy is based on. There are scents that relax us and make us happy.

5. It can drive you crazy.

People who can’t smell anything or have a reduced smelling capacity have a bigger risk of being depressed. It happens because of the strong connection between smells and emotions. The inability to experience different scents limits our capacity of bringing back memories and feelings. A lack of sense of smell is also correlated with schizophrenia.

6. It can make you psychic.

We can feel fear, joy, desire, and other emotions just from another person’s scent. It happens because human sweat and tears contain chemosignals. Each chemosignal activates a different section of our brains. So if the other person’s afraid, his sweat tells our brains he feels that way which causes the “fear” section of our brain to become exposed to it.

7. It can make you buy more.

Retailers call it “environmental fragrancing.” In other words — it’s brainwashing through our noses. Some car brands put additional “new car smell” in their vehicles just to make us buy them. Some shops put fragrances right at the entrance so we follow the scent and purchase something. Coffee shops and bakeries let the smell out right to our nostrils on purpose. They just know which smell will convince our brains to want to buy their products.

So maybe the sense of smell is not vital but very useful and important. Not only does it help us remember, feel, and be pleased, but also it provides the world economy with a whole field to develop marketing tricks.

What do you think about this? Could you imagine your life without your sense of smell? We’ll be glad to hear your answers in the comments below.

Illustrated by Astkhik Rakimova for BrightSide.me