Smells have the power to evoke hundreds of memories. Whether the perfume of an ex-lover or a dish your mother cooked you as a child, the stronger the emotional tie to the scent, the more vivid the memory becomes.
The kits -- the brainchild of creative agency JWT and Singapore-based perfume manufacturer Givaudan -- use personalised and highly emotive scents tailored to each patient’s family history, ethnicity, age and personal stories.
“Our sense of smell is one of our most visceral instincts. It has an instant and powerful connection to memories, especially emotional ones,” said Juhi Kalia, JWT Singapore. “We thought, ‘What if we can use smell to bring evoke memories and emotions in these patients?”
Givaudan’s perfumers, in consultation with therapists and rehabilitation experts, tailor-made and bottled unique smells such as 'Bedtime Stories', 'Mum’s Cooking', 'Prayer' and 'School Days' to provoke engagement through experiential smells.
The scents used ingredients relevant to Singapore, including herbs and spices from everyday Singaporean dishes, Hainanese coffee, incense used in local temples and other scents that reminded people of school, holidays and work life.
Dr. Alan Hirsch, director of the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Institute, has previously explained to HuffPost how memory and smell are connected.
"Smells are processed and laid down in memory with the emotions that were experienced at the time of the memory," he said. "A strong emotional event causes those odor memories to bind to a greater degree."
He explains that the link occurs because smell and memories are both processed in the limbic system or "emotional brain".
"Smells induce recall of vivid memories from the past," says Hirsch.