Mt Druitt - St Mary's Standard (East) - - LIFESTYLE -

SALT, a hint of acidic sharp­ness, and the par­tic­u­lar aroma of smol­der­ing co­conut wood.

Even now I can smell it, and it’s tan­ta­liz­ing. In­tan­gi­ble, and yet some­how so very pre­cise. cise. For smells are not sim­ply mply about the char­ac­ter of f mo­ments, they are a key el­e­ment of our emo­tion­alonal mem­ory.

Neu­ro­sci­en­tists haveve not yet fully mapped the re­la­tion­ship be­tween our sense of smell and the e way we form mem­ory, but t the ob­ser­va­tional ev­i­dence ce is pro­found. Our ol­fac­tory ory sys­tem, the web of nerves rves in the rear of our nasalal cav­ity, work in con­cert rt with the gus­ta­tory re­cep­tor cells that con­sti­tute our taste buds.

That said, many mam­mals have vastly y more com­plex pow­ers s of smell – dogs, pigs and bears. While we con­sider aroma a pow­er­ful driver, ours pales by com­par­i­son to al­most ev­ery other crea­ture. But what wee may lack in re­fine­ment nt we more than make up for through in­ter­pre­ta­tion. Sci­en­tists con­tend that our abil­ity to de­fine aro­mas is closely linked to our evo­lu­tion­ary ca­pac­ity for ob­serv­ing pat­terns. For ex­am­ple ex­am­ple, the mem­ory of an un­pleas un­pleas­ant or ran­cid smell helps us avoid con­sum­ing the sam same spoilt food in fu­ture. W We know what it is, and we r re­mem­ber how we feel abou about it. Yet wh what makes this pro­foun pro­found is not sim­ply our ca­pac­ity for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion, but the man­ner by which we at at­tach emo­tional mea mean­ing. The ol­fac­tory sys­tem con­nects with th the amyg­dala, the po por­tion of our brain g gov­ern­ing mem­ory a and emo­tion. And so that f fra­grance of a sunny i is­land beach, with its s slow-burn­ing fire a and cit­rus-flecked se seafood paella, brings ba back a sense of quiet idy idyll. One mouth­ful, delic del­i­cate and sweet, is enou enough to put me back on that sa sand, bask­ing in the tran­quil sun. At least for a mo­men mo­ment.

Smells... are a key el­e­ment of our emo­tional mem­ory

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