December 25, 2018 10:00 am
Updated: December 31, 2018 1:28 pm

Super Awesome Science Show: Smells of the season

We associate the holidays with various scents, including pine trees, cinnamon, orange and clove. But did you know there’s a science behind these choices?

AP Photo/Jeff Gentner, FILE
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We are all familiar with the sights and sounds of the holiday season. But what about the smells? They have an enormous impact on us and can influence how we celebrate the most wonderful time of the year.

On this week’s podcast episode of the Super Awesome Science Show, we stick our noses into the science of smelling, scientifically known as olfaction, and find out how certain scents can draw out attention, bring back memories and even affect our buying behaviour.

READ MORE: Teens easily detect smell of sweet foods, not vegetables or sweat: study


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We first talk with Dr. Leslie Cameron at Carthage College. She’s been studying how we detect and recognize odours throughout life and how we can equate some aromas with the festive season.

Next we hear from renowned smellosopher Dr. Ann-Sophie Barwich at Indiana University Bloomington. She’s examining how certain odours can be autobiographical in nature, leading us to open up memories of times of past holidays and other moments gone by.

In our SASS Class, we speak with Dr. Jenny Lin at California State University Monterey Bay. She’s researching how the sense of smell affects our brains through what is known as event-related potential. As she tells us, the right combination of odours may prompt us to stick around in a store and inevitably buy more.

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Twitter: @JATetro
Email: thegermguy@gmail.com

Guests:
Dr. Leslie Cameron, Carthage College
Website: https://www.carthage.edu/live/profiles/261-leslie-cameron

Dr. Ann-Sophie Barwich, Indiana University Bloomington
Twitter: @smellosopher
Website: http://www.smellosophy.com/

Dr. Jenny Lin, California State University Monterey Bay
Website: https://csumb.edu/directory/people/jenny-lin

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