Smells alter our decisions


Researchers at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus have discovered that odors stimulate specific brain cells that may play a role in rapid `go, no-go' decision making.

The study was published online in the journal Current Biology.

The scientists focused on the hippocampus, an area of the brain crucial to memory and learning.

The catalyst for the decision-making is the odor which travels up the nose sending neural signals to the olfactory bulb and to the hippocampus. The two organs are closely connected.

The information is swiftly processed and the brain makes a decision based on the input.

The authors knew that so-called `time cells' played a major role in hippocampal function but didn't know their role in associative learning.