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What’s That Awful Smell? It May Be In Your Head.

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When I read this article today it made me think of the Lynard Skynard  song ‘That Smell” In the song he says that the smell of death surrounds him…but did it or was he just stressed out? I think it is common knowledge that smells can affect your moods and emotions.  But scientists now believe that your emotions can affect how you smell what you smell.

Scientists have long known that smells are tied to the brain. They can stir emotions, bring up memories and exert their influence biologically.  Using new brain imaging technology called a Functional MRI they studied how anxiety changes our perception of the smells we encounter.

One researcher said: “After anxiety induction, neutral smells become clearly negative, and “People experiencing an increase in anxiety show a decrease in the perceived pleasantness of odors. It becomes more negative as anxiety increases.”

“We encounter anxiety and as a result we experience the world more negatively,” said Li. “The environment smells bad in the context of anxiety. It can become a vicious cycle, making one more susceptible to a clinical state of anxiety as the effects accumulate.”

The findings are published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

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