What does your sense of smell do for you? Obviously it warns us of things that we’re about to encounter, both good and bad.
Sniffing a lemon could make you feel thinner, whereas the scent of vanilla could make you feel as though you’ve piled on the pounds according to latest research. Scents are able to make you change how you perceive your body image. Participants created an avatar of themselves, which changed according to the different scents that they were exposed to. They wore headphones as well, and when the lemon scent was combined with a high pitched sound they all felt lighter, and when a low sound was played with the vanilla scent they all felt even heavier. Scientists say this could be very helpful to people who are overweight and could even be introduced into clothing, just like the warm and fresh smell of washing powder, we could also be exposed to the aroma of lemons to help us stave off those hunger pangs. A new and novel way of dieting indeed.
They also said the findings hold promise for people with dysmorphia and eating disorders. An estimated 3.4 million people in the uk suffer with eating disorders. The brain holds several mental models of how we look, and these are updated according to external events. This study shows how the sense of smell can influence how we perceive our body and our feelings towards it.