Rachel Herz’s 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, and mechanisms involved in scent-marketing.
She is a world leading expert in the psychological science of smell. She has been conducting research on the sense of smell since 1990, has published more than 66 original research papers, contributed numerous chapters to college textbooks and academic anthologies, received a variety of awards and grants, and teaches at Brown University in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Sciences. Herz also consults for the world’s foremost fragrance and flavor companies, and is frequently called upon as an expert witness in cases involving the sense of smell.
She has written two popular science books: The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell which was selected as a finalist for the 2009 AAAS Prize for Excellence in Science Books, and That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion which has received numerous accolades and analyzes the emotion of disgust from culture to neuroscience. Herz is currently working on a new book exploring our psychology and passion for food.