Posts Tagged ‘Odor Memory’

A Unique Stench

April 30th, 2013 1 comment

Do you ever catch yourself thinking back to experiences from your past – happy, triumphant, gloomy memories? Perhaps, you sometimes imagine what life could present you down the road, where you’ll be 5, 10, 15 years down the line. Research into mental time travel (MTT) – the manner of mentally travelling back in time to relive past personal events or forward in time to imagine possible autobiographical events in the future, suggests that past and future MTT operate along similar principles, mostly in that people tend to recall events dated close to the present regardless of direction. However, differences have been observed as well; future events have been found to involve more of an observer perspective (as opposed to first-person) and refer less frequently to specific events, while they’re generally more personally important and relevant to the person’s self-identity. In other words, MTT into the future is based more upon the creation of potential circumstances in terms of one’s own personal representation of the world based on prior experiences, while MTT into the past is based on actual recollection of past events. The present study (Miles and Berntsen, 2011) aimed to further investigate future versus past MTT in response to different types of sensory cues. It focused on odor cues, as it has been claimed that odors are uniquely encoded and maintained in memory. Thus, it was expected that memories evoked in response to various smells should be different from those evoked via verbal or visual cues.

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Categories: Memory Tags: ,

Sense-triggered memory: why smelling your ex-boyfriend’s old sweatshirt makes you want to cry

April 3rd, 2013 7 comments


Have you ever smelled a certain cologne and felt your heart drop because it was the one your ex-boyfriend wore? Or have you caught a whiff of your mom’s apple pie and affectionately remembered devouring a slice with your brother? Maybe you’ve smelled a certain brand of cigar and remembered how happy you were bouncing on your grandfather’s knee as a child. Certain sensory cues can be very powerful triggers for emotional memories. While many people think of sounds such as music as being strong memory cues, smells actually produce the most emotional and evocative memories.

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Categories: Aging, Memory Tags: ,