We've all experienced it, where we get a waft of some odor (whether pleasant or not), or bite into a long lost taste, or hear an old tune, see some forgotton photographs, (but emphasis on the taste and smell), and instantly we are in taken to a different time and place, and we are sometimes flooded with emotions. I think a Swiss man coined the term, "Nostalgia" (lit. Greek for "Home-sicknesses").

  1. How/Why are our senses, particularly smell and taste, so strongly tied to memories??
  2. There is a debate among scholars whether indulging in nostalgic activities is beneficial for our health. What are the key arguments? (I've always got warm, fuzzy feelings, and didn't see how it's harmful, but are the negativeness something like that they may have rose-colored glasses on, and think that the present is not as good as it once was?)

Yes, basically. There is some psych literature on this; we romanticize the past, because of a particular, complex way the brain chooses to behave. In doing so, we typically remember good things from the past and hold on tightly to those things, even though in total one's past could have been more painful than the present, which is sometimes neglected and ignored and thus people hold themselves back and struggle to look forward and be forward-looking. A psychology / museum curator told me this stuff recently. Again sorry for not having sources to provide. Try a Google search or search on PubMed. I would search for both neurology and psych literature.

  • 1
    Perhaps you could add some of those references from PubMed or some place like it
    – L.B.
    Jul 24 '17 at 19:58
  • Welcome to Health.SE. Since health is an important topic, the site has a strict policy that all answers should be backed up with reliable references, in order to provide the community with the means to assess the merit of the answer, regardless of the reader's background. See this list of reliable sources. If you still have trouble with this, feel free to visit the help center.
    – Narusan
    Jul 29 '17 at 16:49
  • -1: No references
    – Narusan
    Aug 20 '17 at 22:35

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