Here's Why Some Odours Make You Feel Nostalgic
The smell of old books and the smell of the soil after it rains make you so nostalgic. Ever wondered why? Here's you answer.
This is why odours induce a sense of nostalgia
- Brain plays an important role between odours and a sense of nostalgia
- A memory is created when the neurons communicate with each other
- Stimulating the brain area fetched desired results in the piriform cortex
Remember how the smell of new or old books, wet sand just after rain would make you nostalgic about your days of childhood? Well, there's more to it than just emotions. It is science backed! Yes, a team of researchers recently showed that the brain plays an important role between such odours and a sense of nostalgia by making a log of such scents in one part of the brain, which is responsible for keeping such long-term memories.
This new study reveals that the piriform cortex, a part of the brain which is responsible for storing such memories. However, this mechanism only works by interacting with other areas of the brain. Synaptic plasticity or the process of artificial stimulation is responsible for storing such memories in your brain. A memory is created when the neurons communicate with each other through a process called synaptic plasticity, they explained.
Neuroscientists at the Ruhr-University Bochum, Dr Christina Strauch and Prof Dr Denise Manahan-Vaughan, carried out this research on the area of the brain responsible for retaining such memories
"It is known that the piriform cortex is able to temporarily store olfactory memories. We wanted to know, if that applies to long-term memories as well," Christina Strauch explained.
They conducted a study on rats to examine if the piriform cortex can express synaptic plasticity and if it lasts for over four years to state that the change is a long-term memory. Scientists made use of an electrical impulse in the brain to check if it triggers the encoding process of an olfactory sensation as a memory in the brain.
This was stimulated in a higher brain area known as the orbitofrontal cortex responsible for differentiating sensory experiences. And this time, stimulating the brain area fetched the desired results in the piriform cortex.
"Our study shows that the piriform cortex is indeed able to serve as an archive for long-term memories. But it needs instruction from the orbitofrontal cortex - a higher brain area - indicating that an event is to be stored as a long-term memory," Strauch stated.
Results of this study appear in the Cerebral Cortex journal.
With inputs from ANI