Olfactory sense research: Smell and emotion
Certain smells bring us back to the roots of even the most mundane memories. You can almost hear the sleigh bells when you catch a whiff of pine. The smell of fresh rain puts us right back to splashing in puddles on a spring day. One brand of hand soap brings me to my childhood best friend’s home and the joy found in playdates past.
These days, folks are talking about how to hack their olfactory-based memory. Recent trends have travelers taking candles on vacations to embed an unfamiliar, easily reproduced scent into their memory. Later, when these vacationers light their candle, they can experience a relaxed euphoria similar to the peace felt while on vacay.
These smell-based memories link back to the most simplified emotions. While scent memory comes to the old “chicken and the egg” saying, there’s no coincidence we pad baby products with delicate lavender scents given their calming capabilities, and seek the same as we age.
Spas use calming herbal scents like Eucalyptus, Rosemary, and Lavender to create an expected link to every lotion, massage oil, and otherwise stress-relief prompting scent. Similar to the childhood phenomena where the smell of freshly baked bread signaled a great dinner at home, culinary cues also lend themselves to this transformational emotional response.
On your next big night, consider lighting a new candle to create a unique scentscape that guests will associate with your home. Even better, gift your guests the same scented candle to help them bring back the memory of an evening with friends.