We are well into the Holiday Season and on this week’s special episode of the Super Awesome Science Show, we’re going to learn how one of our five senses can impact the celebrations.


To hear the SASS cast, just click on the nose or, if you wish, here:

We all know about the sights and sounds but when you think about it, no Holiday celebration is complete without one or more of the traditional aromas gently wafting into our nostrils.

You probably know most of them simply by sight…

(Can you name them all?)

When you inhale their fragrance, you can be brought into a sense of calm, peace, and expectation of good tidings. How this happens is in a word…awesome.

We first get into the science of smell, known as olfaction, with an expert on the topic…

(Dr. Leslie Cameron)

She takes us through how we smell and how an odour impacts our brain. She also helps us to understand how we may be able to recognize a certain aroma and yet not be able to put a name to it. It’s more common thank you think. In a recent study, Dr. Cameron revealed the only smell that is instantly associated with a name happens to be…

(Who would have thought?)

While naming odours may not be our strong suit, we do have an apparently magical ability to pick up an aroma and be transported in memory to a previous time and place. To talk more about this, there is no one better than the “Smellosopher” herself…

(Dr. Ann-Sophie Barwich)

Dr. Barwich has spent much of her time examining how our brains decode odours in a philosophical way. She explains the concept of “autobiographical aromas” and how she herself can be taken to places and times simply through detecting a certain fragrance such as…


For the record, this particular scent brings me to European Christmas Markets and the joy of celebrating the Holidays with friends and loved ones abroad.

In our SASS class, we examine how the use of both recognition and memory can be used to help us to increase not just our levels of joy but also our…

(Holiday spending…)

To help us understand how smells can lead to more purchases, I speak with one of the researchers in this area…

(Dr. Jenny Lin)

She uses neuroscience to help marketers figure out how we interpret odours and how that may convince us to stay in a store and maybe spend a little more. Her research is a fascinating combination of two very different fields and a must listen to anyone who wants to figure out how to avoid the temptation to shop spurred on by following one’s nose.

I hope you enjoy this episode of the Super Awesome Science Show. If you do, please subscribe on your favorite podcast platform and tell everyone about the show during your Holiday celebrations.

If you have a question, comment or idea for the show, let me know in the comments below or by sending me an Email at: thegermguy@gmail.com. I’ve already heard from a number of people and their contributions are indeed awesome.