The Psychology of Scent: Why Smells Trigger Memories

Does the smell of chicken roast take you back to Sunday lunches at your Grandma’s? Or perhaps a whiff of lavender reminds you of the perfume your mom loves so much? Well, you’re not alone.

Certain scents have a funny way of bringing back memories of specific instances and having a particular effect on you.

Sniffing Up the Science

When a scent hits our senses, it comes in contact with the olfactory bulb located in the brain. The neural inputs conveyed by the scent are processed by the olfactory bulb’s receptor cells and the information is relayed to the brain. Once properly identified, the scents are then sent off to the amygdala and the hippocampus for further processing on a higher level. This involves memory and emotion.

The amygdala begins to associate these odors with positive and negative results. Most commonly linked with fear, the amygdale helps the brain in recognizing negative stimuli.

The hippocampus, on the other hand, connects particular smells with memories of specific occasions. With the passage of time, the brain’s neuron firing adapts to this to the extent that the associative process becomes second nature and a person experiences nostalgia by certain smells.


With these chemical reactions initiated by the olfactory bulb, the brain is able to associate a wide range of smells with an even wider range of memories. These memory triggers lie on the positive and negative ends of the spectrum and are sensitive to the intensity of the memories experienced. For a person with full olfactory functioning, certain smells can evoke particular memories.

This is why the scent of an orchard in blossom can bring up memories you’re your childhood when you had picnic in a park, for example. The positive smell acts as a trigger, spontaneously recalling an experience you had long forgotten about and having you basking in sweet nostalgia.

Unfortunately, scents can serve as a negative trigger too. People who have experienced physical or emotional trauma in their past may strongly associate a particular to their unpleasant memories and have to relive it in their minds. This can be especially painful and traumatizing for individuals suffering from PTSD.

Feel Trip

Olfactory impulses aren’t only associated with memory; they can affect one’s emotions too! As the scent triggers a memory, the memory in turn triggers subconscious emotions related to that experience.


Scents serve a much greater purpose than merely smelling good or bad. They also trigger specific feelings, which can range from attraction to relaxation to irritation. Think of the smell of freshly baked cookies.

While it may bring back an old memory of your grandma baking, it will also leave you feeling relaxed and content, triggering positive memories and emotions.

Now that you know the effect scents can have on your mood, buy men perfumes online with Fragrance Frontier and find exquisite perfumes for yourself! If you are looking to buy genuine makeup products online, we have got you covered.

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6 Tips For Perfume Shopping

Fragrance shopping is like being allowed to pick out just the kind of face you want. Interesting enough?

Your scent can either make you a head-turner or a people-repellant. In short, your scent is what defines you.

Research on nosenography has shown how smell is an “unruly force” which “identifies bodies” within spaces.

It is extremely important to have some tips before going for fragrance shopping; after all, who doesn’t want to be well-received at every occasion?

Here are a few tips.

  1. Homework

Letting yourself get dragged by a nice-smelling person will only help if you inquire about the scent they wear. The real purpose is to find a scent that you want to associate yourself with.

Shortlist a few brands and note down any fresh releases they might have. It is also useful to check the online website of the store you want to shop from.

Since Fragrance Frontier is an online shop for cosmetic products and has an exhaustive list of brands on its website, your shopping experience will be as easy as a click!

  1. Learn Fragrance Families

Everyone has a preference when it comes to picking fragrances. Some like it fruity with a tinge of citrus, while others prefer the scent of spring with flowery essence. Fragrances can range from spicy smells to dense aromatic scents. You need to know what tickles your fancy.

  1. Avoid Scented Lubricants

It is best to try on a scent that a family member or friend already has to avoid surprises. Do not apply any scented creams or body lotions or perfumes on yourself before going for a perfume test.

This would confound your olfactory senses and already saturate your nose with other scents.  Also chemicals in lotions tend to conceal the smell of a perfume when sprayed on it so you would not know the intensity of each scent.

  1. Take a vial

If you are planning to purchase a scent for permanent use, it is best to invest some time and effort into it.

Top notes of a scent are not always reliable. You can revisit these scents once you have collected all the ones you liked and decide on the one that suits you.

Give your nose some time to adjust to a scent and see if it is tempting you to sniff a few hours later. If so, that’s the one!

  1. Test Sillage

The best technique to ascertain sillage is to spray the scent on a blotter and hold it at a distance. If wafts of that scent travel to your nostrils this scent is most likely to have better sillage.

Since our customers mostly want a scent that leaves a trail behind, testing for sillage will definitely help narrowing down your options.

  1. Fragrance Frontier


This should be your last stop. Once you’ve found that one scent that makes you think it’s made for you, simply log on to the website and select the label you want to buy.

Whether you are a man looking to buy men perfumes online or a woman trying to find genuine makeup products online, they have authentic labels well-suited for every occasion. Whether it is a casual home party, or a day at work or a fancy evening, they will have you covered.

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