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Chem Senses. 2000 Feb;25(1):111-6.

Odour-evoked autobiographical memories: psychological investigations of proustian phenomena.

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Department of Psychology, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, UK.


Folk wisdom dictates that odours are especially powerful reminders of autobiographical experience, an effect which has become known as the Proust phenomenon. This paper reviews the relevant literature to determine whether there is any substantive evidence to support this view. Different methodologies have been adopted in addressing this issue, but the most revealing and ecologically valid have been the few studies which have examined naturally formed autobiographical memories. From these data, there is at least preliminary evidence that olfactory stimuli can cue autobiographical memories more effectively than cues from other sensory modalities. Explanations for these effects can be invoked from accepted principles in contemporary cognitive psychology.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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