Would you prefer a scented pencil? How about a tennis ball? Tires? You might not care, or even prefer to avoid the olfactory assault altogether, but research shows you’ll remember the product better if it has a scent.
We know that smells can evoke memories – think Proust’s madeleine – but new research shows that first-time scents seem to merit a unique status in our brains. The researchers used fMRI imaging to judge how well people paired scents and objects a week after their first exposure:
A few weeks ago Dave Munger at Cognitive Daily had a great post about how naming a smell can help us imagine it in the future. He described research that looked into why it’s fairly difficult for us to identify and imagine scents: