Friday, November 6, 2009

Can't Seem Forget that Smell - Good or Bad

A recent study published in Current Biology reports on the sense of smell and memory. In the study the researchers noted that people remembered unpleasant smells the best. Associations of objects and good or bad smells made an imprint on the brain. This only occurred with smells and not sounds.

In addition, functional MRI scans were done to determine how people associated new objects with smell and sound. The amygdala and hippocampus lit up on the MRI's for associations with smell and not sound.

Now let's think about kiddos with sensory processing disorder and/or autism. Research indicates that children with autism exhibit certain sensory sensitivities one of them being smell (read more in previous post on Autism and Sensory Sensitivities). Some children have aversions to certain smells, some find certain smells calming and yet others find smells distracting. If certain associations are being made between objects and smells perhaps these can be changed for children. Perhaps probe further as to why a child has certain smell dislikes or preferences. Are there negative or positive objects or memories associated with the smells? Answers to these questions could help to formulate a plan of action regarding the smells. Any thoughts?

Reference: Reuters Study Explains How Strong Smells Conjure Strong Memories Retrieved from the web on 11/6/09 at

1 comment:

Stacey,momof 2 said...

My son is 7 years old, he has Sensory Processing Disorder...
I wonder if I could use a smell he likes to calm him so that he can do an unperferred task....

I guess I should ask what smells he likes and see what he says!

I'll check into this and get back to you!