Bad smells make memories stronger

Memories will be stronger if the unpleasant smell associated with them, according to a new study. Scientists believe that this discovery will enhance our understanding of how to stimulate the reaction of Pavlov and as a negative experience affects our ability to remember past events. Explains Catherine Hartley, assistant professor of psychology at New York University and senior author of the paper in the journal Learning and Memory:

Bad smells make memories stronger

"These results demonstrate that unpleasant odors can cause improvement in memory as in adolescents and adults, pointing to new ways of learning and the way we remember the positive and negative experience."

"Since our study included different age groups, it can be assumed that in the future unpleasant odors will be used to study the processes of emotional learning and memory processes of the development."

Why smells good memory?

Everyone knows the impact of adverse experiences in the memory. For example, if you are bitten by a dog, you may have an unpleasant memory of the dog that bit you, and this negative association may spread to all dogs. Moreover, because of the trauma associated with a bite, you will probably be a stronger association with her than with other cases with dogs.

"Generalization and Storing the learned negative associations are the main symptoms of anxiety disorders, that often occur in adolescence," says Hartley.

What is a "bad" smell? This is partly a subjective view. During the experiment, scientists have forced subjects to listen to different smells and mark which ones they considered unpleasant. Local perfumer gave odors, a mixture of chemical compounds, among them the rotten fish and manure.

Then scientists showed image, backed odor and perspiration was measured as an indicator of the palm excitation - a common technique study. A day later, the memory of the participants tested. Both adults and adolescents showed better image memorization specifically paired with an unpleasant odor.

How was it possible to apply such a discovery? Tell us in our chat in the telegram.