Smell is the most primal and fundamental of our senses and is a powerful trigger for memories. All our senses can provoke memories, but none are better than smell.
We don’t know why smells are such a powerful trigger of memories. However, there are some clues as to why this should be.
Firstly, our sense of smell is very closely linked to our emotions, and emotions are a powerful trigger for memory. Most of the time, the memories that smells evoke have a strong emotional tone to them. Indeed, the olfactory nerve is very closely connected to the amygdala, an area of the brain which deals with primal emotions, particularly fear. It’s likely that our emotions actually evolved out of our sense of smell, as it would have been ...