Olfactory Responses by Memory

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Laura Kilikevicius


The sense of smell is powerful for its ability to evoke a response to a past experience, whether it was experienced years ago or an hour ago. This could be associated with a cooked dinner, a hike in a forest after rain, or the stench of garbage in a city alleyway. Yet the association between a smell and the memory surrounding it leaves many unanswered questions about the process and the ways it is used in people. For example, one may wonder whether infants experience the same sort of memory retrieval due to olfactory stimulus that adults do, or what changes occur in the brain as a result of loss of the ability to smell. It is important to note that the reason our senses are such powerful tools lies in their connections to the brain; since our brain is perhaps the least understood organ, we already have a sense of its vast complexity and capability for what may be the unthinkable. While it may seem simple in nature that we have memories associated with smell, this trait can leave a large impact on us as we grow older. It is also this property that is exploited commercially by fragrance companies to make scents more appealing to consumers. Because the brain has certain effects and capabilities in response to various stimuli, we are also able to compare these responses to other signals and how they differentiate from smell - in other words what makes smell special to us.

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Author Biography

Laura Kilikevicius, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Laura is a Junior majoring in Molecular and Cellular Biology and is pursuing a minor in Food Science. She is very excited to showcase the new volume and hopes to expand the journal to new horizons. Aside from working on the journal, she is an assistant researcher in the Robinson Lab, is an MCB leader, an Orientation Leader, a member of Bioscience Journal club, and an executive board member of the Undergraduate Neuroscience Society.