Friday Factoid: What’s that smell? Recent research relating to olfaction

Katelyn Yunes, MS

WKPIC Doctoral Intern


With the lowering temperatures of fall come the delicious aromas along with it. I look forward to driving to and from work smelling the wonderful scent of wood burning… It transports me back to a care-free time when I was trick-or-treating on a chilly fall New England night. If you live in Kentucky, this may be similar to the smell of tobacco curing in a barn and can act as a hallmark for the change of seasons. We know that our sense of smell can bring emotions and memories flooding back into focus (Larsson, et al., 2014). But did you know that there is research to support smell as a vehicle for visual-spatial learning? Olofsson and colleagues (2019) found that olfactory training, via an olfactory memory-matching game, produced learning effects on an untrained visual-spatial memory task. Additionally, odor training improved participants’ performance on odor discrimination and naming tasks commensurate with the performance of wine connoisseurs. How cool is that?



Larsson, M., Willander, J., Karlsson, K., & Arshamian, A. (2014). Olfactory LOVER: Behavioral and neural correlates of autobiographical odor memory. Frontiers in Psychology, 5(312) 1- 5.


Olofsson, J., Ekström, I., Sjölund, S., Lindström, J., Syrijänen, E., Stigsdotter-Neely, A., … Larsson, M. (2019). Smell-based memory training: Evidence of olfactory learning and transfer to a visual task. PsyArXiv. Retrieved from

This entry was posted in Blog, Current Interns, Friday Factoids and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Before you post, please prove you are sentient.

What color is the sky on a sunny day?