Relationship Between Smell And Psychological Trauma

Pamela Dalton, a cognitive psychologist, first came to appreciate the power of smell in memory formation as a graduate student, when she used olfactory cues to enhance her human subjects’ memories of unfamiliar faces. She’s now a faculty member at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, and one of the nation’s experts on the relationship between smell and memory, and, in particular, smell and PTSD.

For patients and researchers, recognizing how smell might be linked to traumatic memories represented a big first step towards finding proper treatments. “When you find yourself walking down the street, and all of a sudden your heart’s pounding at 200 bpm, and your palms are sweaty, and you find yourself wanting to run and you don’t know why,” it’s critical to gain an understanding of what’s setting off your body’s alarms, Dalton said.

Read more in io9.


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