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Childhood memories disappear.

A survey of 989 people has found that childhood memories of the smells of the countryside and pine will soon be replaced by those of plastic and airplane fuel as America becomes more industrialized, reports Dr. Alan R. Hirsch, M.D., neurologist, psychiatrist and neurological director of the Chicago-based Smell and Taste Research and Treatment Foundation.

Those born between 1900 and 1929 involved in the study -- who now would be between the age of 62 and 91 years old -- associate their childhood with the smells of nature that included pine, hay, horses, sea air and meadows. Those born between the years of 1930 and 1979 -- who now would be between the age of 12 and 61 -- associated their childhood years with the smells of plastic, scented markers, airplane fuel, vaporub, Sweet Tarts and Playdough.

Dr. Hirsch thinks that this shift from natural to artificial smells may lead to futue problems for society. "If part of why we are so concerned about ecology has to do with nostalgia for natural odors, will the environmental movement 50 years from now be of less concern to those who are nostalgic for man-made chemicals?

In addition, whether one had a happy childhood also influenced which smell caused childhood memory. While one in Twelve reported having unhappy childhoods, those with them were more likely to describe somewhat unusual childhood odors including: moth balls, body odor, dog waste, sewer gas and bus fumes.
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Title Annotation:smells trigger childhood memories
Publication:Nutrition Health Review
Date:Jan 1, 1992
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