Olfaction is not what you think. Although most of us know that we need eyes to see and ears to hear, most of us do not know that we need a nose to “taste,” yet olfaction is central to our enjoyment of eating and drinking. Indeed, most of us probably regard olfaction as nothing more than an occasional sniff of a flower or the heady whiff of garbage or somebody else's unwashed body. But olfaction pervades our life in many ways, betraying whether we are likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or schizophrenia, and indeed, if some are to be believed, influencing whether others find us attractive, as well as allowing us to recover forgotten memories from childhood. However, as interesting as these things are, they are not the reasons that most psychologists choose to study smell. Rather, it is the beguiling mystery of how it works, a conundrum that is still not resolved and at the moment forms the central focus for many psychologists working in this field. This chapter starts by directly addressing this issue and, as you will see, the picture that emerges is indeed bizarre—what you smell is a memory.
|Title of host publication||21st century psychology|
|Subtitle of host publication||a reference handbook|
|Editors||Stephen F. Davis, William Buskist|
|Place of Publication||Thousand Oaks, California|
|Publication status||Published - 2008|