Olfaction, Memory, and Sleep
Scent Activates Memory During Sleep, Study Says
By BENEDICT CAREY
The New York Times
Published: March 8, 2007
Scientists studying how sleep affects memory have found that the whiff of a familiar scent can help a slumbering brain better remember things that it learned the evening before. A rose bouquet — delivered to people’s nostrils as they studied and, later, as they slept — improved their performance on a memory test by almost 15 percent.
The new study, appearing Friday in the journal Science, is the first rigorous test of odor on human memory during sleep. The results — whether or not they can help students cram for tests — clarify the picture of what the sleeping brain does with newly studied material, and of what it takes for this process to succeed.
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