Can a smell make you happy? The new episode of the Arqus podcast is out!
Olfaction is of great importance for our psychological well-being. In the new episode of the Arqus Knowledge Pills, psychologist Anna Oleszkiewicz from the University of Wrocław explains how our sense of smell and our state of mind are connected.
Can a smell make you happy?
Anna investigates how olfactory input influences our ability to function socially and psychologically. Also, she works on improving the so-called “Sniffin’ Sticks” tests, which are an important tool in the field of olfactory training: approximately 5 % of the general population has a dysfunctional sense of smell and a further 20 % has a severe olfactory impairment. Anna’s goal is to bring medical knowledge on human olfactory processing and psychological science closer together.
Anna Oleszkiewicz is an assistant professor at the Department of Experimental Social Psychology, University of Wrocław. The aim of her work is to understand human olfactory function in health and disease. A number of scientific studies have confirmed the great importance of the human sense of smell, phylogenetically the oldest sense, for the proper physical, mental and social functioning of humans. The basic premise for this connection is neuroanatomy. Olfactory signals are transformed from chemical to electrical stimuli at the level of the nasal epithelium and then reach, via the olfactory bulb, the piriform cortex, the amygdala (responsible for emotional processes in humans) and the hippocampus (memory). The psychological effects of olfactory loss are very severe – people with olfactory deficits are more likely to suffer from depression, and complain of reduced quality of life and interpersonal relationships. Olfactory loss is also an early sign of neurodegenerative diseases: Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
The episodes of the “Arqus Knowledge Pills” are published on a regular basis and can be subscribed to on Spotify, anchor and other platforms (see below). Gerhild Leljak (University of Graz) and Pietro Osti (University of Padua) are the moderators that lead listeners through each episode.