An Unusual Source of Memory Power: Smell

An Unusual Source of Memory Power: Smell
An Unusual Source of Memory Power: Smell
It’s late at night and you’re burning the midnight oil trying to cram in a few extra hours of studying before your big examination tomorrow. This is a common scene in college life – students scrambling to gain every advantage they can for test day, even if it means forgoing sleep and food for a night or two in order to spend hours with their noses buried in notes and textbooks. But did you know that if you pulled your nose out from the textbook, you could put it to use to help you unlock amazing memorizing potential?

Our sense of smell, though much less defined in human beings than in other animals like dogs, is a powerful one. It is powerful not in the sense that humans can smell a great variety of things, but in that it is almost directly tied to key memory centers of the brain. The bulk of smell operations and processing comes from the primary olfactory cortex. This part of the brain forms a link with the amygdale and hippocampus. The amygdale is the headquarters of emotion and emotional memory, which is arguably the strongest form of memory. This explains why your most vivid memories are often tied to great emotional experiences, such as the birth of a child or the loss of a loved one. On the other hand, the hippocampus is the center where short-term memories and working memories are processed. Short-term memory is exactly what it sounds like: memory used only for a short amount of time. This can be anything from simply remembering the beginning of this sentence so that you may understand the end of it, or remembering a grocery list for your 15-minute grocery run. Working memory is the intermediate stage between short-term and long-term memory. Smell’s link to these parts of the brain indicates that it has the potential to help you create strong memories associated with smells.

You can utilize this link by studying with a definitive scent under your nose. Accomplish this by simply misting your favorite pen or pencil with a cologne or perfume that you are not accustomed to smelling and regularly sniffing it as you study. Ideally, the smell of that cologne or perfume will imbed itself in your mind and your brain will remember what you are studying more vividly. Come examination time, you can take the same scented writing utensil to class and smell it was you answer the exam questions. The scent should aid you in your memory recall. While this method of studying will never take the place of simply being studious, college students often will use whatever advantage they can get for a good grade.
http://www.onlinecolleges.net/2010/03/

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