Did you know that odors can trigger autobiographical memories very quickly? Researchers have used a variety of non-verbal cues in an attempt to trigger memories. Study results showed that odors are particular effective in triggering autobiographical memories, more so than other types of non-odor-related cues. Memories for specific events that were triggered by odors were more detailed and more emotionally loaded than memories triggers by verbal, visual, or non-odor-related cues. (Chu, S., & Downes, J. J. (2002). Proust nose best: Odors are better cues of autobiographical memory. Memory and Cognition, 30, 511-518.)

Autobiographical memory is a type of memory system that enables humans to recall events from his or her personal life. It is formed by a combination of personal experiences involving specific objects, people, and events that were experienced at a specific time and place (episodic memory) along with general facts and knowledge about the world (semantic memory). Most people have some autobiographical memory. A few individuals have been identified as having hyperthymesia or HSAM, Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory. (Williams, H. L., et al. 2008. Autobiographical memory. G. Cohen and M. A. Conway (Eds.), Memory in the Real World (3rd ed., pp. 21-90). Hove, UK: Psychology Press.)