Bad smells make memories stronger

Memories will be stronger if with theman unpleasant smell is associated, according to a new study. Scientists believe that this discovery will expand our understanding of how Pavlov’s reactions can be stimulated and how negative experiences affect our ability to recall past events. Explains Catherine Hartley, associate professor of psychology at New York University and senior author of an article in the journal Learning and Memory:

"These results demonstrate that unpleasantsmells can lead to improved memory in both adolescents and adults, pointing to new ways of learning and how we remember positive and negative experiences. ”

“Since our research covered differentage groups, it can be assumed that in the future unpleasant smells will be used to study emotional learning processes and memory processes as they develop. ”

Why are smells well remembered?

Everyone knows the effect of negative experience on memory. For example, if a dog bites you, you may have an unpleasant memory of the dog that bit you, and this negative association can spread to all dogs.

Moreover, due to a bite injury, you will probably have a stronger association with it than with other cases with dogs.

"The synthesis and retention of learned negative associations are the main signs of anxiety disorders that often occur in adolescence," says Hartley.

What is the "bad" smell? This is partly a subjective view. During the experiment, scientists forced the subjects to listen to different smells and note which ones they found unpleasant. The local perfumer gave smells, mixtures of chemical compounds, among which was rotten fish and manure.

Then scientists showed imagesreinforced by smell, and measured sweating on the palm of your hand as an indicator of arousal - a common research technique. A day later, the participants' memory was checked. Both adults and teenagers demonstrated better memorization of specific images paired with an unpleasant smell.

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