Study finds link between smell and mood · Health and Science

Where does this news come from?

according to The newspaper Certain aromatherapy can help treat depression (1). The newspaper refers to a study conducted by the University of Pittsburgh. Scientists verified whether it was confirmed Smells help stimulate memory (2). depression Associated with Deficit in autobiographical memory (Where your personal life memories are located). Modulating scents can trigger memories more directly and thus help treat depression.

The study included 32 adults with an average age of 30 years with depression:

  • Half of the participants received words Such as wine, soap, and lavender… presented.
  • The other half was exposed to Smells What those words evoke.
  • 68% of participants exposed to scents were able to recall more personal experiences afterward.
  • In the group that saw only the words, this percentage was 52%.

Scientists decide so Smell cues trigger more memories than word cuesSmell cues can be interesting to support people with depression.


(1) The study says that perfumes can help treat depression. The newspaper. April 12, 2024.

How should you interpret this news?

The smells can indeed be certain Activating the parts of the brain responsible for feelings and pleasure. Activating these parts of the brain can reduce focus on negative events and feelings. In depression, there is a tendency to give negative events and feelings the upper hand.

But whether aromatherapy really helps treat depression cannot be concluded from this study. Because there is It was not investigated whether participants were less depressed. With 32 participants, the study was also limited. It would be interesting to replicate the study by another research group before drawing conclusions.

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The relationship between anosmia and depressed mood has been studied before (3). The question remains whether improving the sense of smell can also improve mood. Not to mention whether it helps treat depression.


An American study found that providing aromatic stimuli to people with depression helps retrieve personal memories. It has not been proven whether scents help change negative moods. The study did not examine whether participants actually felt less depressed.

  • (2) Laker EK, Reilly E, Barb S, et al. Retrieval of autobiographical memories following odor versus verbal cues among adults with major depressive disorder. JAMA Netw is open. 2024;7(2):e2355958.
  • (3) Sabiniewicz A, Hoffmann L, Haehner A, Hummel T. Depressive symptoms change with olfactory function. Science representative. 2022;12(1):5656.

Megan Vasquez

"Creator. Coffee buff. Internet lover. Organizer. Pop culture geek. Tv fan. Proud foodaholic."

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