What Is It Called When A Smell Brings Back A Memory?

The phenomenon of a smell bringing back a memory is called olfactory memory also known as the Proust effect. Recently at a trade stand where Tripps of Somerset were exhibiting our handmade scented candles, A lady started crying whilst smelling one the floral scented candles. The lady went on to add that the sweet pea was reminiscent of real sweet peas in the garden and it had reminded her of her late mother who grew them.

What Is It Called When A Smell Brings Back A Memory? scented candles

What is olfactory memory?
It's a type of memory that is associated with the sense of smell. It is a very powerful type of memory, and it can be triggered by even the faintest of smells. Olfactory memory is thought to be so powerful because the olfactory bulb, which is responsible for processing smells, is directly connected to the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions. This means that smells can evoke strong emotional responses, and they can also trigger memories that are associated with those emotions.
For example, the smell of freshly baked cookies might remind you of your grandmother's house, or the smell of the ocean might remind you of a family holiday. Olfactory memories can be both positive and negative, and they can be very vivid and detailed. Olfactory memory is a fascinating phenomenon, and it is still not fully understood. However, it is clear that smells have a powerful ability to evoke memories and emotions.
The Proust effect
The Proust effect, also known as involuntary memory, is a phenomenon in which a particular smell, taste, or sound triggers a vivid and detailed memory from the past. The term is named after the French writer Marcel Proust, who described the experience in his autobiographical novel À la recherche du temps perdu (Remembrance of Things Past).
In the novel, Proust describes how the taste of a madeleine cookie dipped in lime-blossom tea transported him back to his childhood home. He could smell the fresh bread baking in the oven, hear the birds singing in the garden, and see his grandmother sitting in her armchair. The experience was so powerful that it left Proust feeling like he was reliving his childhood all over again.
The Proust effect is thought to be caused by the way that the brain processes smells. When we smell something, the odor molecules travel through the nose to the olfactory bulb, which is located at the base of the brain. The olfactory bulb then sends signals to the amygdala, which is responsible for processing emotions, and the hippocampus, which is responsible for forming memories. This is why smells can evoke such strong emotional responses and can trigger memories that we may have forgotten about.
The Proust effect is a fascinating phenomenon that can be both enjoyable and disturbing. It can be enjoyable to be transported back to a happy memory, but it can also be disturbing to be reminded of a negative memory. However, the Proust effect can also be a valuable tool for understanding our past and for connecting with our emotions.