A new scientific research suggests people can actually smell fear as sensory cells learn to associate certain aromas with it. This way you can feel scared just by smelling something even though the message why you should be scared has not yet reached your brain.
A research team of scientists from Rutgers University in New Jersey found out that the sense of smell gets much more active when you are scared. This way whatever smell you detect when feeling frightened gets imprinted in your memory so next time you sense the same kind of smell the fear will return. Experts explain this phenomena with the fact that the olfactory nerve, responsible for sending messages from the nostrils to the brain, is situated just next to the areas linked to emotional memory.
Another example of how the olfactory nerve works is the fact that when you sense the perfume or other smell that reminds you of a loved one, you would immediately think of them even if you haven’t seen them for a long time.
Scientists suggest the new finding could be quite useful in treating post-traumatic stress disorder where attacks are often triggered by senses.