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Rachel Herz Ph.D.


Rachel Herz, Ph.D., is a TEDx speaker, and has been conducting research on scent, taste, food, emotion, behavior and cognition since 1990. She is an independent consultant, and has been been on the faculty at Brown University since 2000, and part-time faculty in the Psychology Department at Boston College since 2013.

Her research has shown how odor-evoked memory is emotionally unique and evocative compared to other memory experiences, how emotional associations can change odor perception, and how odors can be conditioned to emotions and subsequently influence motivated behavior. Her work also addresses how language and context alter olfactory perception, the role of body-odor and fragrance in heterosexual attraction, mechanisms involved in scent-marketing, and how smell sensitivity is affected by time of day and body-weight. Rachel Herz also studies how we perceive food and how food-based emotions influence us. She has published 89 original research papers, contributed numerous chapters to college textbooks and academic anthologies, and received a number of grants and prestigious awards.

Her research on sensory memory was on display from 2001-2006 in a traveling Smithsonian Institution exhibit called "Brain: The world inside your head." In 2007, Rachel’s first popular science book: The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell (William Morrow/Harper-Collins) was published and selected as a finalist for the “2009 AAAS/Subaru SB&F Prize for Excellence in Science Books.” She is also the author of That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion (W.W. Norton & Co), which analyzes the emotion of disgust from culture to neuroscience, and Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship with Food (W.W. Norton & Co), which explores how our senses and psychology govern our perception of food, and the experiences and consequences of eating.

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