As a person inhales, air and scent molecules move past the smell receptors in the nose. In turn, the smell receptors relay a signal to the brain. Smells can trigger memories and emotional responses.
Update Date 8/12/2013
Updated by: Ashutosh Kacker, MD, BS, Associate Professor of Otolaryngology, Weill Cornell Medical College, and Associate Attending Otolaryngologist, New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.