The Psychology of Smell

There’s a reason why we’re drawn to products that smell good. And there’s a reason why smells trigger memories, too.

While there are many things to do with the effects of smells that remain a mystery, we know for sure that scents can have a big impact on your brain and emotions.

Below is an overview of how scents and psychology work hand in hand - fragrances really can have an impact on your brain. So, keep reading to find out how scents have an effect on nostalgia, productivity, relaxation, and even sales.


For Nostalgia

Does a certain scent take you back to another time in your life? That could be a perfume, a laundry detergent, or even the smell of a particular home cooked meal. It happens to most of us and there’s a solid scientific reason behind it.

You might be surprised to know that your sense of smell is the strongest sense you have, and it’s also the sense that’s most linked to memory. The olfactory bulb, a structure that starts in your nose and runs across the bottom of your brain, is responsible for linking your sense of smell to your memory and emotions.

With that in mind, smells can trigger specific memories and feelings of joy, excitement, comfort, and sadness. For example, some people say that the reason baby powder is relaxing is because it takes them back to their early years.


In Marketing

You’re exposed to hundreds and hundreds of smells every day and, in some cases, they’re curated to make you feel a certain way.

Have you noticed that some stores always smell the same way? Well that could be because the store owners know that smells elicit emotions. It has actually been proven that having a good smell in a store can increase sales, and some businesses buy scent machines for that reason.

This is called scent marketing (a.k.a. aroma marketing) and is a lot more common than you might think.


At Work/School

Scents can enhance your productivity. Some teachers use diffusers and other scent distributors (and different smells can be used for different subjects) in the classroom to stimulate brain activity. Scents can also be used to calm excitable children.

Similarly, scents can be used in offices to try to lift the moods of employees and, again, increase productivity levels across the team.


For Relaxation

The art of creating relaxation through scents is called aromatherapy. Although many aromatherapy practices aren’t scientifically proven to be effective, we do know that if you associate a certain smell with relaxation, it’s likely that it will help you relax in other contexts, too.

Lavender is said to be one of the most relaxing scents and can reduce stress, anxiety, and restlessness. But why? Linalool, a fragrant alcohol found in lavender extract, is said to be behind this. When linalool is absorbed by your body, it’s said that your heart rate can decrease and your muscles can relax.

Our scented hand sanitizer comes in lavender, white tea, and original, and each of them smell fantastic. Browse our hand sanitizers and hand sanitizer dispensers by clicking here.