On yesterday's Diane Rehm show, guest host Susan Page talked to Rachel Herz, author of The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell:
The first and definitive book on the psychology of smell, The Scent of Desire traces the importance of smell in our lives, from nourishment to procreation to our relationships with the people closest to us and the world at large. Smell was the very first sense to evolve and is located in the same part of the brain that processes emotion, memory, and motivation. To our ancestors, the sense of smell wasn't just important, it was crucial to existence and it remains so today. Our emotional, physical, even sexual lives are profoundly shaped by both our reactions to and interpretations of different smells. (via harpercollins)
You can listen online here. The segment is almost an hour long. Some of the topics covered: anosmia, sexual attraction, scent and memory, olfactory hallucinations, and the relationship between diet and body odor. There is only a little bit of discussion about perfume near the end; Rachel Herz calls herself a "perfume loyalist" and wears Neiges by Lise Watier. (with many thanks to freskagirl for the link!)
Update: see a review of The Scent of Desire.
I've ordered the book on Amazon UK a few weeks ago. They say it will be delivered somewhere between the 1st and the 5th of November. Can't wait!
M, was going to email this to you today, but of course you already know about it
I just got it yesterday — it's fascinating, can't put it down…
That ad copy makes me wrinkle my nose with skepticism: “the first and definitive”? Surely one can't be both? Or perhaps, by definition if you're the first and only you are definitive…
At any rate, she's not the only one to have written about the psychology of scent — but I look forward to checking out the book. Great cover.
I thought that was silly too…but will give her the benefit of the doubt & chalk it up to the publicity dept.
Good to know, thanks — might have to buy it!