Scent and Memory

Discussion in 'Religion & Philosophy' started by ysabel, May 26, 2009.

  1. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    This morning, I woke up to the smell of something familiar. I couldn't explain at first what it was. It smelled like after rain, mixed with cold morning breeze and something else. It's not just the smell but I felt something familiar. And then then I realised later it was the exact smell of my many mornings when I was preparing to go to school on a rainy day. I'm talking about something that transpired a dozen years ago. I sat for a moment and several memories related to those days flooded back to me. A real nostalgic trip.

    Have you ever had this? You smell something and it takes you somewhere back in time with a related memory to it? Is it so strong that you can actually feel how you were at that moment?

    “Scent is the strongest link to memory and can stimulate natural development of deficient chemicals in the brain. When people smell things, they are linked immediately and unconsciously to the past,” - Jackie Farnell (aromatherapist successful at helping people with Alzheimer’s in long-term care facilities with their appetite loss and aggressive behavior).
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  2. Altanzitarron

    Altanzitarron Tamer Of The LOLzilla

    Yes I have experienced this a few times. I find it incredibly frustrating when it stimulates a memory but I can't fully remember what it was, perhaps something from early childhood. When that happens it feels a lot like deja vu. However there are times when it creates a memory extremely vivid. One summer I worked in a factory making boxes for cosmetics, I really hated it. One day after I'd quit there I opened a box of new toothpaste and that smell took me right back. It was so vivid that I was almost sick.
  3. Rebeccaaa

    Rebeccaaa yellow 4!

    This has happened to me a fair bit :nod: I know what you mean.. where sometimes the scent takes you to a memory of how you felt at a certain time, not necessarily your typical kind of memory of maybe a scene or something. I can remember having this recently with the smell of one of the bushes in my nextdoor neighbours garden. Boring story alert...

    They always trim it back, but this year it's over-grown and come over the top of the fence. I was walking past it to the bottom of the garden the other day and smelt the flower, which was the smell that I felt pretty much summed up my childhood, but I wasn't sure why. Then later I was talking to my mum and she said when I was really young they never cut the bush back and it was always overflowing into our garden and I use to love it.

    Also the smell of really heavy rain during the night does it. and a few other things I can't remember right now.
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  4. Altanzitarron

    Altanzitarron Tamer Of The LOLzilla

    Haha then perhaps this thread wasn't for you :rolleyes:

    Another thing that does this is music. Certain songs that I used to listen to whilst doing certain things have a habbit of taking me back there when I listen to them.
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  5. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    Ah yes, it feels a lot like déjà vu. :nod: Sometimes it's fleeting and I want to say "stop" just so I can recall while it's still there. I like the good memories. The bad ones, I'd rather forget but we can't really select. Sometimes it's a long term effect on me. I have associated beer with bad memories and it's no wonder I never took a liking to it.

    Yes, I get what you mean by "scene". I think your boring story was awesome, btw.

    :rotfl: C'est une réplique fantastique.

    I've also read that those who have problems with sense of smell usually report a loss of emotional richness and, over time intensity toward life because experiences are flatter. I think my sense is fine...I hope so!

    I thought of something music related too today. In fact I'll be making a thread about it later if it hasn't been done yet.
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  6. Bliss

    Bliss Sally Twit

    This has happened to me many times. It's usually the smell of a certain food or perfume.
    Every morning when I go to work there is a woman that gets on and her perfume smells so nice. I want to ask her what it is but I'm worried she'll think I'm a freak or tell me to get lost. Anyway.. someone walked past me a few days ago with the same perfume and it took me a while to realise why I recognised the smell.
  7. ysabel

    ysabel /ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5

    Ah, signature scents...

    There's this one guy in my HS class who wears Jovan Musk. I just know that he does but there's one occasion when I really smelled it on him. My classmates and I laid on an empty street, coming home from a party, to look at the night sky (and he was beside me). And now whenever I smell it somewhere, even just walking outside and probably just passed someone wearing it, it takes me back to that time of craziness.
  8. Chaos

    Chaos Epic Gamer V.I.P. Lifetime

    It's strange, really. A scent, a smell, a hint of an is the only sense that we can't hold a memory of. We can remember a sound, a touch, how something felt or tasted. We can reconstruct that memory of the sense. Yet, we cannot do the same with a smell. We can't describe it or remember it until the smell is there again. How odd.

    As for the OP, I don't think I've ever had it. I can't say that I can recall a situation which was marked specifically by a smell - but then perhaps I've had them, but never had the smell again to recall the memory...if that makes sense. :hmm: :hah:
  9. Smelnick

    Smelnick Creeping On You V.I.P.

    I've had that happen before. I remember a smell I sniffed while I was getting stung by quite a few bees. And then everytime I smelled that smell, I'd always flashback to the bee incident. It's pretty freaky. It gets even stranger when two things smell the same. Sometimes, if something you've never smelled, or been able to associate with a memory, wafts into your nose, your brain interprets it as smelling like something similiar to what your smelling. So then you end up thinking that the random chemical at work smells like strawberry jam, meanwhile, other people think it smells like crud.
  10. Cait

    Cait Oh, poppycock.

    I've experianced this before in a way. It wasn't link to a specific memory, but it reminded me of something that I just couldn't put my finger on. Even if I figure out what the smell is, I usually can't remember the moment. It's so fustrating.

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