The limbic system is a collection of brain structures located in the middle of the brain. This portion of the brain blends together human mental functions and our innate emotion into a a centralized location. It dictates our emotional stability, learning capabilities and ability to form memories based on past experiences. B. (n.d.). Boundless Psychology. Retrieved from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-psychology/chapter/structure-and-function-of-the-brain/
Components of system
Maybe the smell of oatmeal and oranges takes you back to your childhood to summers spent at your grandmothers house. This memory could elicit both positive or negative emotions all dependent on how the signals are filtered by the components of your lymbic system
As you inhale the scent of the oatmeal your sensory neurons send a signal to your brain. The signal maybe heightens your hunger once registered by your Hypothalamus. From there maybe the signal travels to the other regions of the lymbic system, via the cingulate gyrus to your amygdala. Once in this region maybe the signal generated by the scent triggered a memory that provoked you to anger towards yourself for not driving out to see her as often as you should have. Or maybe the signal helps you recall positive aspects about past memories of your Grandmother; such as the way she put detail in the presentation of her breakfast meals. Whatever response the signal generates it all occurs within the limbic system.
Have you ever wondered why certain smells elicit feelings of joy or sadness combined with memories about a certain place or event from your past
B. (n.d.). Boundless Psychology. Retrieved from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/boundless-psychology/chapter/structure-and-function-of-the-brain/
Krusemark, E. A., Novak, L. R., Gitelman, D. R., & Li, W. (2013). When the Sense of Smell Meets Emotion: Anxiety-State-Dependent Olfactory Processing and Neural Circuitry Adaptation. The Journal of Neuroscience, 33(39), 15324–15332. http://doi.org/10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1835-13.2013
Amygdala: Emotional Center of the brain, help determine emotional response to situations sights smells ect . Fight or Flight. Controls fear.
Hippocampus: Formation of new memories based on past events
Thalamus: The sensory filter for all lymbic components
Hypothalamus: Center for rage, pleasure and laughter in response to signaling filtered from thalamus
Cingulate Gyrus: Blends sensory inputs registered from sensory organs with memories.
Basal Ganglia: Helps choose from the potential actions after registration of signal.
Lymbic System: Components have overlap and work together
Although unclear as to "exactly" why or how, there has always seemed to be a strong connection between olfactory senses and emotions. According to the journal of neruosciene, the amygdala, and hippocampus regions of the lymbic system seem to be the major contributor to this connection between odor and emotion. Throughout history humans have relied on olfaction to govern our innate needs in regard to reward threat and homeostatic regulation. Ancient humans depended heavily on the connection between the brain and sensory organs to ensure survival when presented with stressful situations. In a study done by Krusemark, Novak, Gitlelman and Li 1997, there seems to be evidence that states of high stress heighten the human ability to fully experience the intensity of odors. This served as a vital evolutionary trait when it came to avoiding predators or hunting prey. In their study, results found that when presented with visuals of situations that elicited feelings of fear or anxiety the test subjects had a heightened ability to perceive intensity of smells.