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Thread: Psychology of Smell

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    Psychology of Smell



    I was recently reading an article regarding the psychologist Rachel Herz ( known for her studies regarding the influences of smell) and it set me thinking.
    We know that smell and emotion are both processed in the limbic system so it is natural that some smells can activate a certain emotion , good or bad.
    As we know many stores use "scents" to influence customers and conjure up a certain "feeling" eg. floral scents in the bedding department or vanilla and cinnamon at Christmas etc.
    Often when we smell something we may always connect that particular smell to a particular emotion. Some scents remind us of a specific person, place or event.
    For me, it is a particular brand of sun lotion. Each time I smell it I instantly think of sand in my shoes, the sun , crowded beaches and such. However that`s a pretty obvious one.
    I wonder what smells or scents other Forum users like/dislike and what particular memory good/bad does it conjure up for them and why?

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    Sorry, what

    thats Great thanks

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    Have you looked at Synesthesia
    tried to provide a link but I did need 10 posts

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jomid59 View Post
    Have you looked at Synesthesia
    tried to provide a link but I did need 10 posts
    Neurological condition, mixed signals. It`s an interesting one , especially when you hear people describe music in colour.

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    Now fir trees are being displayed in shops..because of the time of year we are at, one smell of them and so many memories of past Christmases just instantly come to mind......particularly the problems in getting said trees home...usually lose a branch or two in the process

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    Now fir trees are being displayed in shops..because of the time of year we are at, one smell of them and so many memories of past Christmases just instantly come to mind......particularly the problems in getting said trees home...usually lose a branch or two in the process
    How lucky to get real ones, I have to stick to my plastic one ....all decorated and lit does not look bad

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maleth View Post
    How lucky to get real ones, I have to stick to my plastic one ....all decorated and lit does not look bad
    To be honest Maleth, last year I had an artificial tree instead of a real one and it looked lovely when decorated too. In fact I may use it again this year, save the hassle of bringing a tree home from the shops or watching out all afternoon waiting for it to be delivered.
    I don`t know how you feel, but lately , to me, it feels like I have no sooner put the tree away until it`s time to bring it back out...and no matter how carefully you wind up the lights [ well my good husband gets that job] when you bring them out again, they are tangled! I think there`s a gremlin that deliberately tangles them for badness once you pack them away

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    To be honest Maleth, last year I had an artificial tree instead of a real one and it looked lovely when decorated too. In fact I may use it again this year, save the hassle of bringing a tree home from the shops or watching out all afternoon waiting for it to be delivered.
    I don`t know how you feel, but lately , to me, it feels like I have no sooner put the tree away until it`s time to bring it back out...and no matter how carefully you wind up the lights [ well my good husband gets that job] when you bring them out again, they are tangled! I think there`s a gremlin that deliberately tangles them for badness once you pack them away
    Ohh those lights...they are a nuisance I don't believe how long it takes to open them up. You are so right. I was complaining to a friend of mine over the phone and she told me ' I dont have to worry about that, I just put a plastic cover over it when done and bring it out all set up the next year' Somehow I feel Im cheating if I would do that

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maleth View Post
    Somehow I feel Im cheating if I would do that
    Yes, I think I might also....can`t write anymore here...I`m away to look for a large plastic cover...

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    I went the artificial tree route years ago, partly because my husband made such an ungodly fuss about dragging the tree home and cutting off a slice at the bottom and then getting it into the stand that I, as usual, just decided to get the artificial tree since I could put it together by myself. (Also, to be honest, I think I may have a touch of OCD or at least a "perfectionistic" disorder as I was constantly re-arranging the lights as the branches sort of "settled" with the heat. Please, let's not even get into it. )

    Unfortunately, it's 7' tall, so there's no putting a plastic bag over it and just moving it to the basement! You have to bag all the branches and then put it together again every year. When they tell you it's easier, they lying! (I do have a 3' tall one in the dining room in front of the bay windows where I can do that, and it's a blessing!)

    Anyway, I still manage to get that fresh "fir" smell by putting boughs of them on the fireplace mantle, and wound around the staircase. A nice wreathe helps too.

    I have to stop. I'm panicking because I'm so behind!

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    Yes, I think I might also....can`t write anymore here...I`m away to look for a large plastic cover...
    haha...you see? I can be helpful sometimes

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I went the artificial tree route years ago, partly because my husband made such an ungodly fuss about dragging the tree home and cutting off a slice at the bottom and then getting it into the stand that I, as usual, just decided to get the artificial tree since I could put it together by myself. (Also, to be honest, I think I may have a touch of OCD or at least a "perfectionistic" disorder as I was constantly re-arranging the lights as the branches sort of "settled" with the heat. Please, let's not even get into it. )

    Unfortunately, it's 7' tall, so there's no putting a plastic bag over it and just moving it to the basement! You have to bag all the branches and then put it together again every year. When they tell you it's easier, they lying! (I do have a 3' tall one in the dining room in front of the bay windows where I can do that, and it's a blessing!)

    Anyway, I still manage to get that fresh "fir" smell by putting boughs of them on the fireplace mantle, and wound around the staircase. A nice wreathe helps too.

    I have to stop. I'm panicking because I'm so behind!
    haha dont blame it on us. Put some Christmas carols on the back ground it seems to help to concentrate better with a dose of seasonal cheer.....I will zip up now

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    Quote Originally Posted by Angela View Post
    I went the artificial tree route years ago, partly because my husband made such an ungodly fuss about dragging the tree home and cutting off a slice at the bottom and then getting it into the stand that I, as usual, just decided to get the artificial tree since I could put it together by myself. (Also, to be honest, I think I may have a touch of OCD or at least a "perfectionistic" disorder as I was constantly re-arranging the lights as the branches sort of "settled" with the heat. Please, let's not even get into it. )

    Unfortunately, it's 7' tall, so there's no putting a plastic bag over it and just moving it to the basement! You have to bag all the branches and then put it together again every year. When they tell you it's easier, they lying! (I do have a 3' tall one in the dining room in front of the bay windows where I can do that, and it's a blessing!)

    Anyway, I still manage to get that fresh "fir" smell by putting boughs of them on the fireplace mantle, and wound around the staircase. A nice wreathe helps too.

    I have to stop. I'm panicking because I'm so behind!
    Angela, I agree about those tree branches, they can be a real pain, as I found out last year. Also I relate to both the "perfectionist" nature and the panicking over getting things done. However, I made a conscious decision a few years ago not to stress or worry about it anymore and everything comes together just fine, only now I get to enjoy it more. I also worked on the perfectionist, just so thing, and I am glad to say I am now much better at being a little less of a perfectionist. Take Maleths advise, put on some music and just relax.
    Last edited by hope; 09-12-14 at 23:23.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maleth View Post
    Christmas carols on the back ground it seems to help to concentrate better with a dose of seasonal cheer.....
    I really like my Christmas carols Maleth, but I`m listening to this at the moment....good for relaxing to...even if it does make you feel like dancing...:)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmCnQDUSO4I

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    Same sentiment about Christmas tree in my household. My wife loves the smell and charm of a big natural tree, so for 20 years or so I've been slaving with an axe and other tools, to compose and compromise the tree to the size of tree stand. I've always accomplishing this task making myself dirty with sap, scratching floors, spreading needles around the whole house, and spending additional hour adjusting the natural tree to the semi perfect vertical position. This was happening with 10 foot tall tree. I have to mention that I'm very efficiency conscient guy, so I really hate doing anything that doesn't last longer than few years. I'm not much of Sisyphus. Also, I never felt happy killing a tree to enjoy it for a month, and smear myself and my tools with pesky sap. To make this matter worst, my wife loved to keep the tree till end of January, way after tree collection time done by city workers. Every time I had to chop it to small pieces and put it in a garbage bag. Not really my ideal how to dispose a dead body...of a tree. ;)
    On a positive note, last year I managed to convince my wife to buy a plastic tree finally. It came with lights permanently attached to it! It takes 3 construction size plastic bags to put it away, but I had real joy putting it together this year. Yes, joyful experience first time ever in this department. So Maleth, you didn't miss much, lol.
    Merry Christmas to All.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Going back to main subject. Everytime I smell something unusual burning it reminds me of my childhood. Making smoke "grenades" out of ping pong plastic balls, shooting cans with some sort of carbide. Making rockets out of saltpeter and sugar mixture, etc.
    Fresh baked sourdough bread reminds me when as kids roaming a city, we devour fresh baked bread, still warm, from local bakery.

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    I really like my Christmas carols Maleth, but I`m listening to this at the moment....good for relaxing to...even if it does make you feel like dancing...:)

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mmCnQDUSO4I
    Isnt that just awesome music? but will not be increasing my work production ...haha....I would be circling round the room in graceful movements with the possibility of knocking down my Nana's old vase off the side table

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Going back to main subject. Everytime I smell something unusual burning it reminds me of my childhood. Making smoke "grenades" out of ping pong plastic balls, shooting cans with some sort of carbide. Making rockets out of saltpeter and sugar mixture, etc.
    Fresh baked sourdough bread reminds me when as kids roaming a city, we devour fresh baked bread, still warm, from local bakery.
    Its amazing how you get these kind of flashback on a particular kind of smell. Wood burning reminds me as a child, of the community ovens we used to have fueled by wood (or rather twigs mostly from carob trees). In the more remote villages people used to take their Sunday bake in the Morning (of course all in walking distance) and collect them by lunch time.

    Other smells that give me Christmas time flashbacks is orange zest and cinnamon. Today we have lost a little of that Magic as some food was only prepared just for Christmas but we seem to get it all year round these days. Although besides the Delicious Italian Panetone we still have alcohol sprinkled trifles reserved for this time of year.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBrok View Post
    Merry Christmas to All.
    Thanks LeBrok, Merry Christmas to you too....
    Merry Christmas to everyone.. and to those who don`t celebrate Christmas per say..good wishes..

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maleth View Post
    Isnt that just awesome music? but will not be increasing my work production ...haha....I would be circling round the room in graceful movements with the possibility of knocking down my Nana's old vase off the side table
    Maleth, put Nana`s vase somewhere safe for ten minutes, turn up the music and circle away..not only will it benefit mind and body, but it`s also..plain good fun...

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    Thanks LeBrok, Merry Christmas to you too....
    Merry Christmas to everyone.. and to those who don`t celebrate Christmas per say..good wishes..
    Happy Winter Solstice, Hope. As I always say, let's put the "Sol" back in "Solstice". Although Merry Christmas if that's more your cup of tea.

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    1 out of 1 members found this post helpful.
    Along with music, certain smells evoke some of my strongest emotional reactions. Also, is it just me, or are the ones that trigger the strongest emotions those that are connected to childhood?

    When I was a child, I used to spend a good many hours dreaming away the hot August and September afternoons in the green-gold, dappled shade of my nonno's grape arbor, and the "grapey", sugary smell of the ripening fruit hanging just out of reach has never left me. Closer to the coast, the salty scent of the sea, mingled with the sweet smell of roses and the spicy smell of carnations, of lavender, and wild rosemary and thyme and sage, is seared into my brain. In certain places, depending on the direction of the wind, you could sometimes catch the smell of sea pines, and in still other places lemon trees. At the hottest parts of the day, I swear that you could even smell the scent released by stone and terra cotta and plaster when they are baked by the sun, or taste/smell the acridness of burning metal. When I return to my childhood haunts and I smell all these combinations again, I invariably get misty eyed. Sometimes I'm rather tempted to do as the Pope does, and fall to my knees and kiss the ground. The very dust has a Mediterranean smell to me.

    My "escape bags" in the event of hurricanes (or the Zombie Apocalypse!) contain a copy of the collected works of Shakespeare, my Dante, and my Montale. No one describes our area the way that he does...
    http://partyofone.typepad.com/poemar...mon-trees.html

    I have wonderful "scent memories" of the northern U.S. as well, although they are more "subtle", and not the sensual barrage that I associate with the Mediterranean. I love the "new" snow and fir tree smell that accompanies a big snow fall. There are few things more marvelous than the combination of those smells and the visuals provided by an unending expanse of undulating, pure white snow under a clear blue sky, all the while breathing in that pure, crystalline air. One of my favorite things to do is to go for a long walk by myself right after a major snowfall, when it is all still hushed and silent, with the only sound coming from my own footsteps. (Yes, I have my anti-social moments, where "I just vant to be alone, darling.")

    There's also a smell that I associate with sudden thunderstorms, especially in the summer. I had a terrible inclination, as a child, not to be frightened by thunder and lightening, but to be excited by it, I suppose, and I loved that combination of the boom of the thunder, the sense of electricity in the air, and then the release of the rain pouring down, and the smell of grass and soil that accompanied it. My mother apparently had to close and bolt the doors because I would invariably try to run and sit underneath a particularly big tree on the property. (I must not have had a very strong survival instinct in that regard.)

    Like almost everyone, I assume, I love the smell of certain foods too, like baking bread, or the smell of sweets in the oven that are made with vanilla and cinnamon. The smell of certain foods means home to me, and family. When we moved to the northern U.S., with its heavy snowfalls, I used to walk home for lunch. (I was, of course, one of the few who took the opportunity to do that.) On snowy, blustery days, I would open the door to the smell of boiling milk, and sugar, and vanilla, and lemon from the hot "rice soup" my mother would make for me on those days. Roasting meats spiced and herbed in our traditional way also mean home, as does the smell of my mother's meat sauce for her holiday ravioli. Then there's the smells associated with holiday foods. It's part of what makes the holidays such a bittersweet time of year for me, because they all evoke my parents, and grandparents, and uncles and aunts and cousins, so many of whom are gone.

    That's the strongest, most emotional smell of all, I think, the smell of certain people, compounded of their own particular aroma and whatever scents they habitually wore...

    I think that's ingrained in us, "hard wired". I've mentioned before the scene in the Costa Gavras movie "Z" where the wife shatters while smelling her assassinated husband's shirt. I've never forgotten that scene. I've kept some of my mother's and father's clothes, and I swear they still bear their scent. My own children maintain that they never smell "Red Door" on anyone without thinking of me.

    Ah well, now I've made myself sad, and I didn't intend it. It's all good in the end, however. This is the stuff that makes us human, and all so connected to one another, something of which we should remind ourselves, I think, especially when we spend so much time thinking about our differences on Boards like this one.

    Oh, and whatever you celebrate at this time of year, or whether you indeed celebrate nothing at all, my profoundest best wishes to all of you and to all your loved ones.

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    @Angela.... I also have a few pieces of my mums clothes, small things such as a blouse and her favourite gloves. I don`t need them to remind me of her , but like you said, there is a still just a little scent of her perfume on them....nostalgia is good for you.....
    [The perfume she used was truly awful unfortunately..... ]

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    Quote Originally Posted by hope View Post
    Maleth, put Nana`s vase somewhere safe for ten minutes, turn up the music and circle away..not only will it benefit mind and body, but it`s also..plain good fun...
    I will I will, now that my tree is all set up and flickering......these Led type are so much nicer :)

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