As a person inhales, air and scent molecules move past the smell receptors in the nose. In turn, the smell receptors relay a signal to the brain. Smells can trigger memories and emotional responses.
Update Date 8/5/2015
Updated by: Sumana Jothi MD, specialist in laryngology, Clinical Instructor UCSF Otolaryngology, NCHCS VA, SFVA, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.