Friday, October 3, 2008

Scent and Studying

As I mentioned in my previous blog, I've recently taken up a new challenge and that is learning Mandarin Chinese. I have been using scent to help me study and recall what I have been studying.

It has been long known that our olfactory sense has powerful ties to memory. For example, I have a bottle of Guerlain's Samsara perfume that I purchased while on one of my trips to Turkey. Whenever I smell it I am immediately transported, very vividly, to a moment in time where I'm eating kesari and mezes while overlooking the Bosphorus. I can even recall what I was wearing and feel the warmth of the sunshine on my face.

I have found this works for studying as well with Rosemary being a particularly good scent, as it stimulates circulation, which brings oxygen to the brain, hence improving its function. But this isn't limited to Rosemary. The big part of the trick is less the scent chosen (Samsara is a far cry from Rosemary ;) , and more sniffing the scent not only when studying, but also when recalling!

'What if you can't carry it in a bottle to your tests?' you ask. Scent your pen or pencil, wear a dab on your shirt sleeve, scent your hair, wear it well diluted as a perfume, etc ...

The nose knows and can help us remember what we know!

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