Smell and Memory: Smell like yesterday
A You probably pay more attention to a newspaper with your eyes than with your nose. But lift the paper to your nostrils and inhale. The smell of newsprint might carry you back to your childhood, when your parents perused the paper on Sunday mornings. Or maybe some other smell takes you back-the scent of your mother’s perfume, the pungency of a driftwood campfire. Specific odours can spark a flood of reminiscences.
Psychologists call it the “Proustian phenomenon” after French novelist Marcel Proust. Near the beginning of the masterpiece In Search of Lost Time, Proust’s narrator dunks a madeleine cookie into a cup of tea and the scent and taste unleash a torrent of childhood memories for 3000 pages.
B Now, this phenomenon is getting the scientific treatment. Neuroscientists Rachel Herz, a cognitive neuroscientist at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, have discovered, for instance, how sensory memories are shared across the brain, with different brain regions remembering the sights, smells, tastes and sounds of a particular experience. Meanwhile, psychologists have demonstrated that memories triggered by smells can be more emotional, as well as more detailed, than memories not related to smells.
When you inhale, odour molecules set brain cells dancing within a region known as the imygdala ( E ) , a part of the brain that helps control emotion. In contrast, the other senses, such as taste or touch, get routed through other parts of the brain before reaching the amygdala. The direct link between odours and the amygdala may help explain the emotional potency of smells. ’’There is this unique connection between the sense of smell and the part of the brain that processes emotion,” says Rachel Herz.
C But the links don’t stop there. Like an octopus reaching its tentacles outward, the memory of smells affects other brain regions as well. In recent experiments, neuroscientists at University College London (UCL) asked 15 volunteers to look at pictures while smelling unrelated odours. For instance, the subjects might see a photo of a duck paired with the scent of a rose, and then be asked to create a story linking the two.
Brain scans taken at the time revealed that the volunteers’ brains were particularly active in a region known as the factory cortex, which is known to be involved in processing smells. Five minutes later, the volunteers were shown the duck photo again, but without the rose smell. And in their brains, the olfactory cortex lit up again, the scientists reported recently. The fact that the olfactory cortex became active in the absence of the odour suggests that people’s sensory memory of events is spread across different brain regions.
Imagine going on a seaside holiday, says UCL team leader, Jay Gottfried. The sight of the waves becomes stored in one area, whereas the crash of the surf goes elsewhere, and the smell of seaweed in yet another place. There could be advantageous to having memories spread around the brain. ’’You can reawaken that memory from any one of the sensory triggers,” says Gottfried. “Maybe the smell of the sun lotion, or a particular sound from that day, or the sight of a rock formation.” Or – in the case of an early hunter and gatherer (out on a plain – the sight of a lion might be enough to trigger the urge to flee, rather than having to wait for the sound of its roar and the stench of its hide to kick in as well.
D Remembered smells may also carry extra emotional baggage, says Herz. Her research suggests that memories triggered by odours are more emotional than memories triggered by other cues. In one recent study, Herz recruited five volunteers who had vivid memories associated with a particular perfume, such as opium for Women and Juniper Breeze from Bath and Body Works.
She took images of the volunteers’ brains as they sniffed that perfume and an unrelated perfume without knowing which was which. (They were also shown photos of each perfume bottle.) Smelling the specified perfume activated the volunteers brains the most, particularly in the amygdala, and in a region called the hippocampus which helps in memory formation. Herz published the work earlier this year in the journal Neuropsychologia.
E But she couldn’t be sure that the other senses wouldn’t also elicit a strong response. So in another study Herz compared smells with sounds and pictures. She had 70 people describe an emotional memory involving three items – popcorn, fresh-cut grass and a campfire. Then they compared the items through sights, sounds and smells. For instance, the person might see a picture of a lawnmower, then sniff the scent of grass and finally listen to the lawnmower’s sound. Memories triggered by smell were more evocative than memories triggered by either sights or sounds.
F Odour-evoked memories may be not only more emotional, but more detailed as well. Working with colleague John Downes, psychologist Simon Chu of the University of Liverpool started researching odour and memory partly because of his grandmother’s stories about Chinese culture. As generations gathered to share oral histories, they would pass a small pot of spice or incense around; later, when they wanted to remember the story in as much detail as possible, they would pass the same smell around again.
”It’s kind of fits with a lot of anecdotal evidence on how smells can be really good reminders of past experiences,” Chu says. And scientific research seems to bear out the anecdotes. In one experiment, Chu and Downes asked 42 volunteers to tell a life story, then tested to see whether odours such as coffee and cinnamon could help them remember more detail in the story. They could.
G Despite such studies, not everyone is convinced that Proust can be scientifically analysed. In the June issue of Chemical Senses, Chu and Downes exchanged critiques with renowned perfumer and chemist J. Stephan Jellinek. Jellinek chided the Liverpool researchers for, among other things, presenting the smells and asking the volunteers to think of memories, rather than seeing what memories were spontaneously evoked by the odours. But there’s only so much science can do to test a phenomenon that’s inherently different for each person, Chu says.
Meanwhile, Jellinek has also been collecting anecdotal accounts of Proustian experiences, hoping to find some common links between the experiences. “I think there is a case to be made that surprise may be a major aspect of the Proust phenomenon,” he says. “That’s why people are so struck by these memories.” No one knows whether Proust ever experienced such a transcendental moment. But his notions of memory, written as fiction nearly a century ago, continue to inspire scientists of today.
Use the information in the passage to match the people (listed A-C) with opinions or deeds below. Write the appropriate letters A-C in boxes 1-5 on your answer sheet. NB: you may use any letter more than once
A Rachel Herz
B Simon Chu
C Jay Gottfried
1. Found pattern of different sensory memories stored in various zones of a brain.
2. Smell brings detailed event under a smell of certain substance.
3. Connection of smell and certain zones of brain is different with that of other senses.
4. Diverse locations of stored information help US keep away the hazard.
5. There is no necessary correlation between smell and processing zone of brain.
Choose the correct letter, A, B, C or D.
6. In paragraph B, what do the experiments conducted by Herz and other scientists show?
A Women are more easily addicted to opium medicine
B Smell is superior to other senses in connection to the brain
C Smell is more important than other senses
D certain part of brain relates the emotion to the sense of smell
7. What does the second experiment conducted by Herz suggest?
A Result directly conflicts with the first one
B Result of her first experiment is correct
C Sights and sounds trigger memories at an equal level
D Lawnmower is a perfect example in the experiment
8. What is the outcome of experiment conducted by Chu and Downes?
A smell is the only functional under Chinese tradition
B half of volunteers told detailed stories
C smells of certain odours assist story tellers
D odours of cinnamon is stronger than that of coffee
9. What is the comment of Jellinek to Chu and Downers in the issue of Chemical Senses’.
A Jellinek accused their experiment of being unscientific
B Jellinek thought Liverpool is not a suitable place for experiment
C Jellinek suggested that there was no further clue of what specific memories aroused
D Jellinek stated that experiment could be remediedoffee
Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of reading passage, using NO MORE THAN THREE WORDS from the Reading Passage for each answer. Write your answers in boxes 10-13 on your answer sheet.
In the experiments conducted by UCL, participants were asked to look at a picture with a scent of a flower, then in the next stage, everyone would have to (10)……………….. for a connection. A method called (11)…………….suggested that specific area of brain named (12)……………… were quite active. Then in an another parallelled experiment about Chinese elders, storytellers could recall detailed anecdotes when smelling a bowl of (13)………………… or incense around.
Computer Provides More Questions Than Answers
A The island of Antikythera lies 18 miles north of Crete, where the Aegean Sea meets the Mediterranean. Currents there can make shipping treacherous and one ship bound for ancient Rome never made it. The ship that sank there was a giant cargo vessel measuring nearly 500 feet long. It came to rest about 200 feet below the surface, where it stayed for more than 2,000 years until divers looking for sponges discovered the wreck a little more than a century ago.
B Inside the hull were a number of bronze and marble statues. From the look of things, the ship seemed to be carrying luxury items, probably made in various Greek islands and bound for wealthy patrons in the growing Roman Empire. The statues were retrieved, along with a lot of other unimportant stuff, and stored. Nine months later, an enterprising archaeologist cleared off a layer of organic material from one of the pieces of junk and found that it looked like a gearwheel. It had inscriptions in Greek characters and seemed to have something to do with astronomy.
C That piece of “Junk” went on to become the most celebrated find from the shipwreck; it is displayed at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens. Research has shown that the wheel was part of a device so sophisticated that its complexity would not be matched for a thousand years — it was also the world’s first known analogue computer. The device is so famous that an international conference organized in Athens a couple of weeks ago had only one subject: the Antikythera Mechanism.
D Every discovery about the device has raised new questions. Who built the device, and for what purpose? Why did the technology behind it disappear for the next thousand years? What does the device tell us about ancient Greek culture? And does the marvelous construction, and the precise knowledge of the movement of the sun and moon and Earth that it implies, tell us how the ancients grappled with ideas about determinism and human destiny?
E “We have gear trains from the 9th century in Baghdad used for simpler displays of the solar and lunar motions relative to one another — they use eight gears,’ said Frangois Charette, a historian of science in Germany who wrote an editorial accompanying a new study of the mechanism two weeks ago in the journal Nature. “In this case, we have more than 30 gears. To see it on a computer animation makes it mind-boggling. There is no doubt it was a technological masterpiece.”
F The device was probably built between 100 and 140 BC, and the understanding of astronomy it displays seems to have been based on knowledge developed by the Babylonians around 300-700 BC, said Mike Edmunds, a professor of astrophysics at Cardiff University in Britain. He led a research team that reconstructed what the gear mechanism would have looked like by using advanced three- dimensional-imaging technology. The group also decoded a number of the inscriptions. The mechanism explores the relationship between lunar months __ the time it takes for the moon to cycle through its phases, say, full moon to the full moon -and calendar years. The gears had to be cut precisely to reflect this complex relationship; 19 calendar years equal 235 lunar months.
G By turning the gear mechanism, which included what Edmunds called a beautiful system of epicyclic gears that factored in the elliptical orbit of the moon, a person could check what the sky would have looked like on a date in the past, or how it would appear in the future. The mechanism was encased in a box with doors in front and back covered with inscriptions — a sort of instruction manual. Inside the front door were pointers indicating the date and the position of the sun, moon, and zodiac, while opening the back door revealed the relationship between calendar years and lunar months, and a mechanism to predict eclipses.
H “If they needed to know when eclipses would occur, and this related to the rising and setting of stars and related them to dates and religious experiences, the mechanism would directly help，,” said Yanis Bitsakis, a physicist at the University of Athens who co-wrote the Nature paper. “It is a mechanical computer. You turn the handle and you have a date on the front.” Building it would have been expensive and required the interaction of astronomer, engineers, intellectuals, and craftspeople. Charette said the device overturned conventional ideas that the ancient Greeks were primarily ivory tower thinkers who did not deign to muddy their hands with technical stuff. It is a reminder, he said, that while the study of history often focuses on written texts, they can tell us only a fraction of what went on at a particular time.
I Imagine a future historian encountering philosophy texts written in our time ~ and an aircraft engine. The books would tell that researcher what a few scholars were thinking today, but the engine would give them a far better window into how technology influenced our everyday lives. Charette said it was unlikely that the device was used by practitioners of astrology, then still in its infancy. More likely, he said, it was bound for a mantelpiece in some rich Roman’s home. Given that astronomers of the time already knew how to calculate the positions of the sun and the moon and to predict eclipses without the device, it would have been the equivalent of a device built for a planetarium today __ something to spur popular interest or at least claim bragging rights.
J Why was the technology that went into the device lost? “The time this was built, the jackboot of Rome was coming through,” Edmunds said. “The Romans were good at town planning and sanitation but were not known for their interest in science.” The fact that the device was so complex, and that it was being shipped with a number of other luxury items, tells Edmunds that it is very unlikely to have been the one ever made. “Its sophistication is such that it can’t have been the only one,” Edmunds said. “There must have been a tradition of making them. We’re always hopeful a better one will surface.” Indeed, he said, he hopes that his study and the renewed interest in the Antikythera Mechanism will prompt second looks by both amateurs and professionals around the world. “The archaeological world may look in their cupboards and maybe say, That isn’t a bit of rusty old metal in the cupboard.”
The reading passage has ten paragraphs A-J. Which paragraph contains the following information?
14. The content inside the wrecked ship
15. Ancient astronomers and craftsman might involve
16. The location of the Antikythera Mechanism
17. Details of how it was found
18. Appearance and structure of the mechanism
Complete the following summary of the paragraphs of reading passage, using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the reading passage for each answer.
An ancient huge sunk (19)………………… was found accidentally by sponges searcher. The ship loaded with (20)……………….such as bronze and sculptures. However, an archaeologist found a junk similar to a (21)…………….. which has Greek script on it. This inspiring and elaborated device was found to be the first (22)……………….. in the world
Use the information in the passage to match the people (listed A-C) with opinions or deeds below. Write the appropriate letters A-F in boxes 23-26 on your answer sheet. NB You may use any letter more than once
A Yanis Bitsakis
B Mike Edmunds
C François Charette
23. More complicated than the previous device
24. Anticipate to find more Antikythera Mechanism in the future
25. Antikythera Mechanism was found related to the moon
26. Mechanism assisted ancient people to calculate the movement of stars.
Soviet’s New Working Week
A “There are no fortresses that Bolsheviks cannot storm”. With these words, Stalin expressed the dynamic self-confidence of the Soviet Union’s Five Year Plan: weak and backward Russia was to turn overnight into a powerful modern industrial country. Between 1928 and 1932, production of coal, iron and steel increased at a fantastic rate, and new industrial cities sprang up, along with the world’s biggest dam. Everyone’s life was affected, as collectivised farming drove millions from the land to swell the industrial proletariat. Private enterprise disappeared in city and country, leaving the State supreme under the dictatorship of Stalin. Unlimited enthusiasm was the mood of the day, with the Communists believing that iron will and hard-working manpower alone would bring about a new world.
B Enthusiasm spread to time itself, in the desire to make the state a huge efficient machine, where not a moment would be wasted, especially in the workplace. Lenin had already been intrigued by the ideas of the American Frederick Winslow Taylor (1856-1915), whose time-motion studies had discovered ways of stream-lining effort so that every worker could produce the maximum. The Bolsheviks were also great admirers of Henry Ford’s assembly line mass production and of his Fordson tractors that were imported by the thousands. The engineers who came with them to train their users helped spread what became a real cult of Ford. Emulating and surpassing such capitalist models formed part of the training of the new Soviet Man, a heroic figure whose unlimited capacity for work would benefit everyone in the dynamic new society. All this culminated in the Plan, which has been characterized as the triumph of the machine, where workers would become supremely efficient robot-like creatures.
C Yet this was Communism whose goals had always included improving the lives of the proletariat. One major step in that direction was the sudden announcement in 1927 that reduced the working day from eight to seven hours. In January 1929, all Indus-tries were ordered to adopt the shorter day by the end of the Plan. Workers were also to have an extra hour off on the eve of Sundays and holidays. Typically though, the state took away more than it gave, for this was part of a scheme to increase production by establishing a three-shift system. This meant that the factories were open day and night and that many had to work at highly undesirable hours.
D Hardly had that policy been announced, though, then Yuri Larin, who had been a close associate of Lenin and architect of his radical economic policy, came up with an idea for even greater efficiency. Workers were free and plants were closed on Sundays. Why not abolish that wasted day by instituting a continuous workweek so that the machines could operate to their full capacity every day of the week? When Larin presented his ides to the Congress of Soviets in May 1929, no one paid much attention. Soon after, though, he got the ear of Stalin, who approved. Suddenly, in June, the Soviet press was filled with articles praising the new scheme. In August, the Council of Peoples’ Commissars ordered that the continuous workweek be brought into immediate effect, during the height of enthusiasm for the Plan, whose goals the new schedule seemed guaranteed to forward.
E The idea seemed simple enough but turned out to be very complicated in practice. Obviously, the workers couldn’t be made to work seven days a week, nor should their total work hours be increased. The solution was ingenious: a new five-day week would have the workers on the job for four days, with the fifth day free; holidays would be reduced from ten to five, and the extra hour off on the eve of rest days would be abolished. Staggering the rest-days between groups of workers meant that each worker would spend the same number of hours on the job, but the factories would be working a full 360 days a year instead of 300. The 360 divided neatly into 72 five-day weeks. Workers in each establishment (at first factories, then stores and offices) were divided into five groups, each assigned a colour which appeared on the new Uninterrupted Work Week calendars distributed all over the country. Colour-coding was a valuable mnemonic device since workers might have trouble remembering what their day off was going to be, for it would change every week. A glance at the colour on the calendar would reveal the free day, and allow workers to plan their activities. This system, however, did not apply to construction or seasonal occupations, which followed a six-day week, or to factories or mines which had to close regularly for maintenance: they also had a six-day week, whether interrupted (with the same day off for everyone) or continuous. In all cases, though, Sunday was treated like any other day.
F Official propaganda touted the material and cultural benefits of the new scheme. Workers would get more rest; production and employment would increase (for more workers would be needed to keep the factories running continuously); the standard of living would improve. Leisure time would be more rationally employed, for cultural activities (theatre, clubs, sports) would no longer have to be crammed into a weekend, but could flourish every day, with their facilities far less crowded. Shopping would be easier for the same reasons. Ignorance and superstition, as represented by organized religion, would suffer a mortal blow, since 80 per cent of the workers would be on the job on any given Sunday. The only objection concerned the family, where normally more than one member was working: well, the Soviets insisted, the narrow family was har less important than the vast common good and besides, arrangements could be made for husband and wife to share a common schedule. In fact, the regime had long wanted to weaken or sideline the two greatest potential threats to its total dominance: organised religion and the nuclear family. Religion succumbed, but the family, as even Stalin finally had to admit, proved much more resistant.
G The continuous work week, hailed as a Utopia where time itself was conquered and the sluggish Sunday abolished forever, spread like an epidemic. According to official figures, 63 per cent of industrial workers were so employed by April 1930; in June, all industry was ordered to convert during the next year. The fad reached its peak in October when it affected 73 per cent of workers. In fact, many managers simply claimed that their factories had gone over to the new week, without actually applying it. Conforming to the demands of the Plan was important; practical matters could wait. By then, though, problems were becoming obvious. Most serious (though never officially admitted), the workers hated it. Coordination of family schedules was virtually impossible and usually ignored, so husbands and wives only saw each other before or after work; rest days were empty without any loved ones to share them – even friends were likely to be on a different schedule. Confusion reigned: the new plan was introduced haphazardly, with some factories operating five-, six- and seven-day weeks at the same time, and the workers often not getting their rest days at all.
H The Soviet government might have ignored all that (It didn’t depend on public approval), but the new week was far from having the vaunted effect on production. With the complicated rotation system, the work teams necessarily found themselves doing different kinds of work in successive weeks. Machines, no longer consistently in the hands of people how knew how to tend them, were often poorly maintained or even broken. Workers lost a sense of responsibility for the special tasks they had normally performed.
I As a result, the new week started to lose ground. Stalin’s speech of June 1931, which criticised the “depersonalised labor” its too hasty application had brought, marked the beginning of the end. In November, the government ordered the widespread adoption of the six-day week, which had its own calendar, with regular breaks on the 6th, 12th, 18th, 24th, and 30th, with Sunday usually as a working day. By July 1935, only 26 per cent of workers still followed the continuous schedule, and the six-day week was soon on its way out. Finally, in 1940, as part of the general reversion to more traditional methods, both the continuous five-day week and the novel six-day week were abandoned, and Sunday returned as the universal day of rest. A bold but typically ill-conceived experiment was at an end.
Choose the correct heading for each paragraph from the list of headings below. Write the correct number i-xii in boxes 27-34 on your answer sheet
List of Headings
i. Benefits of the new scheme and its resistance
ii. Making use of the once wasted weekends
iii. Cutting work hours for better efficiency
iv. Optimism of the great future
v. Negative effects on the production itself
vi. Soviet Union’s five-year plan
vii. The abolishment of the new work-week scheme
viii. The Ford model
ix. Reaction from factory workers and their families
x. The color-coding scheme
xi. Establishing a three-shift system
xii. Foreign inspiration
27. Paragraph A
28. Paragraph B
29. Paragraph D
30. Paragraph E
31. Paragraph F
32. Paragraph G
33. Paragraph H
34. Paragraph I
Choose the correct letter A, B, C or D.
35. According to paragraph A, the Soviet’s five-year plan was a success because
A Bolsheviks built a strong fortress.
B Russia was weak and backward.
C industrial production increased.
D Stalin was confident about the Soviet’s potential.
36. Daily working hours were cut from eight to seven to
A improve the lives of all people
B boost industrial productivity.
C get rid of undesirable work hours.
D change the already establish three-shift work system.
37. Many factory managers claimed to have complied with the demands of the new work week because
A they were pressurized by the state to do so.
B they believed there would not be any practical problems.
C they were able to apply it.
D workers hated the new plan.
Answer the questions below using NO MORE THAN TWO WORDS from the passage for each answer.
38. Whose ides of continuous work week did Stalin approve and helped to implement?
39. What method was used to help workers to remember the rotation of their off days?
40. What was the most resistant force to the new work week scheme?