The Sense of Smell – How does it all work?

Hello hello,

We are back again for another class of psychology.

This time around, we are going to share more about “The Sense of Smell”!


Photo credit: My Jewish Learning


At one point in time, we opened up the discussion on the sense of sight

And if you recall well, it somewhat linked or connected to our sense of smell, as human beings.


Photo credit: Discover Magazine


To begin with,

I hope….like really hope, that you appreciate your sense of smell!

To many people, it is one of those things they say, they can do without

Until they cannot anymore!


That could either be out of natural causes

Or simply because of sickness…the sickness can be short-term or long-term.

We are talking things like a cold or a bout of flu or worse, COVID19!


In psychology, we hold this sense in very high regard.

That is because smell is so closely linked to our memory.

How? Let us shade some light there….

(We are going all scientific now in naming all these parts of our brain)


Everything we encounter our way, in life, gives off a particular scent….good or bad alike, right?

And this scent is picked up and processed in what we call, the “olfactory bulb”.

This “bulb” we are talking about, is a very small structure located in our front area of our brain that houses equally small structures called vertebrates that receive input of scents or odours that have been detected in what we call the “nasal cavity”.


Photo credit: Discover Magazine


Now, please take a moment and digest that part in, first….

We have a second part that involves transferring this input we have talked about, to other components of the brain.


The olfactory bulb has connections to the “amygdala” and the “hippocampus”.

If you know your psychology, you do know these two components of the brain are responsible for providing emotional reactions and memories that we have, from time to time.


Photo credit: The Scientist Magazine


So, in case somebody walks by you and they smell a particular attractive way

You must know that those two components of the brain “did di ting” and have evoked some good memories in you!

The response is the same if they smell a particular upsetting way….(hihi)


Isn’t all this truly amazing?

All these process happening in milli-seconds one at a time without us even noticing?

Being able to detect a particular dish of pasta that has been made with minced meat, which reminds you of this particular lunchtime favourite you used to have on Sunday, growing up?


~We will add on more on this sense of smell, on another day in psychology class? ~



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