The perfume you are using today could potentially be linked to a scent you enjoyed since childhood.
A new study from science website eurekalert.org: has suggested that our preference for perfumes may be directly linked to scents we imprinted during our childhood.
While you might have heard the term ‘imprinting’ when speaking of animals and their associations to different odours, studies are now questioning the relationship human beings have with the scents they prefer.
Imprinting usually refers to certain animals and the way they become fixated on sights and smells they experience during early stages of life. For instance, ducklings may visually imprint the first moving object they see, usually the mother duck, while migrating fish relate the smells they have known since birth, which eventually guides them back to their home river as adults.
According to the science report, while visual imprinting has been widely studied, the neurological aspect of olfactory imprinting remains a mystery.
It also stated that the exposure to environmental conditions during early stages of life is crucial when it comes to developing sensory maps and neural circuits in the brain. In some cases, it is known to affect perception and social behaviour during adulthood.
With this lack of scientific research in smell-based imprinting, Japanese scientists have set out to discover more by studying the mechanism of olfactory imprinting of infant mice, and the results are fascinating.
Dr. Nishizumi revealed that three molecules significant to smell-based imprinting were present in infant mice. The report explained why these molecules were causing the ‘imprinting’, or preference for certain smells.
The study also showed that mice could change their minds about their smell preferences by changing a negative smell association to a positive one.
The study concluded that new valuable insights were discovered in relation to decision making and mind struggle in humans as well as the neuroscience of all types of imprinting; however, the main question remains: Could humans be choosing their fragrances because of early life smell-based imprinting?