Scent, the gatekeeper of the brain


Scent determines whether we experience something as pleasant or unpleasant or safe or unsafe. It helps us to recognize and appreciate people, objects and spaces. The sense is sometimes called the gatekeeper of the brain. It lets us approach or avoid an unpleasant odor. We can be attracted or not to someone, seemingly for no apparent reason.

It appears that natural odors are more appreciated than synthetic fragrances and there must be a certain consistency between the scent and the environment. For example, a fresh lemon scent can be spread in a room, but if a space is dirty and filthy looking, the smell has no effect on the perception (Smeets M. E., 2015).

Scent of short duration

A new fragrance proves people’s inquisitive nature. They want to know what the scent is, and go to investigate. The nose, however, is quickly saturated and notices the smell no longer. Habituation also plays a role. The central nervous system does not give attention anymore to the scent. Everyone has experienced this once, you enter a room and you think it stinks like wet dog and other unpleasant odors. If you are forced to stay a while in that space, you realize that you hardly perceive the smell anymore.

Scents have no lasting effect. It is important to take this into account when applying it. Scents have a great associative power. For instance, if people stand in front of a bakery story, they will recognize the smell of bread. If this air is presented in a laboratory, mostlikely no one will recognize the scent (Smeets. H., 2009). So make sure that you apply dynamic fragrance. Ambi Pure has acted upon this and developed an air refresher that spreads a different scent every half hour.

Same scent other association

Studies have been done to measure the effect of a specific mint scent on the mood of people. This study was conducted in North America and Britain. The air was found to be appreciated very positively in North America, but very negative in Britain. This outcome was caused by the association the test subjects had with the smell. In North America, it reminded of a famous candy. In Great Britain the odor reminded of a specific drug that was used there.

This association is also noticable with yourself. Think about a moment you smelled a specific scent which brought you right back to the moment you first encountered that smell. The scent activates a pathway in your memory. A scent can bring you back to that specific event, in a split second as if it just happened. Even though that memory is decades old.

What we value

Generally people find the scents of vanilla, lavender, apple, citrus and baby products very appealing. Lavender has a relaxing effect and the environment is perceived as cleaner by the smell of citrus.

Fragrances can be used perfectly for example in waiting rooms of dentists etc. Odor can then be used to reduce anxiety and create a relaxed mindset. Make sure only that the scents are composed dynamically and carefully.



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