A team of Cornell researchers led by Christiane Linster, professor of neurobiology and behavior, and including Thomas A. Cleland and David M. Smith of psychology, is investigating neurological connections that link smell with non-olfactory contextual information such as location.
"On a winter’s evening, the smell of wood smoke from a chimney can be pleasant, even comforting," says a Cornell Research article. "Encountered inside a house in July, the smell of burning wood is alarming. The same sensory signal may have widely varying implications depending on the situation."
The results from this research, which received an award from the National Institutes of Health, could inform mental health therapies, such as desensitization strategies for treating post-traumatic stress disorder.