A new study examines how alexithymia — a psychological condition that makes it difficult for some people to express emotion — also alters a person’s reaction to different odors.From the sweet aroma of fresh-baked cookies making you feel warm inside to the subtle scent of flowers blooming in the spring perhaps leading to joyful feelings, your sense of smell has a strong bearing on your emotions.

That’s because “there is a partial overlap between the areas in our brains which deal with olfactory perception and those which process emotions,” Marilena Aiello, a cognitive neuroscience researcher at the International School for Advanced Studies in Italy and co-author of a new study from Italy looking at one of the links between scent and emotion, said in a statement.

But what happens to your sense of smell if you have trouble with emotions? [10 Things You Didn’t Know About the Brain]

In the study, Aiello and her colleagues looked at how certain scents affected people who have a psychological condition known as alexithymia, which means that they have difficultly expressing their emotions. (In Greek, alexithymia means “no words for feelings,” according to the study.) It’s estimated that 1 in 10 people have the condition.

People with alexithymia have difficulty processing and relating to different emotions, such as joy, anger or disgust. Given the well-established link between smell and emotions, the researchers wanted to see whether alexithymia affected how people responded to different scents.

To do so, the researchers divided a group of 62 individuals into three groups according to the severity of alexithymia (high, medium and low). The participants were presented with smells — ranging from unpleasant odors to neutral scents to clean air — and asked to identify them. In addition, the researchers also evaluated the participants’ threshold for detecting the different scents.

Source: What Your Nose Can Reveal About Your Emotions

Random sensory quotes

Half the clubs in Berlin are made of concrete and steel. The other half is built out of driftwood and glitter.

— MARC SCHNEIDER