UNITED STATES (OBSERVATORY NEWS) — The smells that we feel during the acquisition of a new experience, as well as later, in a dream, while the consolidation of memory, play a significant role in remembering.
Only 12 years ago, accurate experiments demonstrated this in the laboratory, showing that the pleasant aroma of roses when learning, and then during sleep helps to consolidate new knowledge.
Now, psychologists from the Medical Center of the University of Freiburg have confirmed this effect in “field” studies. They write about this in an article published in the journal Scientific Reports.
The influence of smells on memory is associated with the work of the hippocampus – the area of the brain that plays the role of “random access memory”, accumulating new information, and then, in a dream, participating in its selection and transfer of important information to “permanent memory”.
The hippocampus is directly related to the sense of smell, and odors can have a strong effect on its activity, stimulating memorization. It is worth noting that motor skills – such as swimming or cycling – are remembered in a different way; the hippocampus does not take much part in this process.
In 2007, this was shown by the experiments of the Jan Born group from the University of Lübeck. Then it was noted that it was not yet possible to recreate and confirm similar effects outside the laboratory, and even more so at home.
However, recently Jürgen Kornmeier and his colleagues have succeeded in this. The experiment in the new experiments were 54 students from two parallel sixth grades of the same school in southern Germany.
Pupils of the same class were given roses-scented sticks, and they held them on the table while learning new English words during homework, and also laid them near the bed for the night. The second class acted as a control group and studied as usual.
The effectiveness of the experimental group was approximately 30 percent higher. “We have reliably shown that the supporting effect of odors works in real life and can be used purposefully,” summarizes Jürgen Kornmieu.
This article is written and prepared by our foreign editors writing for OBSERVATORY NEWS from different countries around the world – material edited and published by OBSERVATORY staff in our newsroom.
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