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