By: Natasha Archary
Scents trigger memories by increasing brain activity associated with either a happy or sad memory. This is the reason the smell of freshly baked bread takes you back to your childhood.
This Thursday on Kaya Drive with Sizwe, the talk revolved around the scents that remind you of either someone or a moment you will always associate with that smell.
Some people just have a signature scent, like Kaya Biz presenter Gugulethu Mfuphi who makes an entrance with her scent. It’s a smell Sizwe always associates with Gugu.
It’s also why we first smell food before we eat it because we know what a peach smells like and can anticipate the taste of it with the first bite.
Another reason why scents trigger memories is that people link certain smells to an emotion. As Sizwe reminisced on his childhood and when he would catch “a hiding” he can still remember the smell of the cane.
The smell of the ocean triggers the sound and taste of the waves crashing on the shore and the saltiness in the air. The distinct smell of a flower can ignite memories of your first love or a relative who had the flowers growing in their garden.
According to neuroscientists have suggested that this close physical connection between the regions of the brain linked to memory, emotion, and our sense of smell may explain why our brain learns to associate smells with certain emotional memories.