Nature and human well-being: The olfactory pathway

Bratman, Gregory N. and Bembibre, Cecilia and Daily, Gretchen C. and Doty, Richard L. and Hummel, Thomas and Jacobs, Lucia F. and Kahn, Peter H. and Lashus, Connor and Majid, Asifa and Miller, John D. and Oleszkiewicz, Anna and Olvera-Alvarez, Hector and Parma, Valentina and Riederer, Anne M. and Sieber, Nancy Long and Williams, Jonathan and Xiao, Jieling and Yu, Chia-Pin and Spengler, John D. (2024) Nature and human well-being: The olfactory pathway. Science Advances, 10 (20). ISSN 2375-2548

sciadv.adn3028.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


The world is undergoing massive atmospheric and ecological change, driving unprecedented challenges to human well-being. Olfaction is a key sensory system through which these impacts occur. The sense of smell influences quality of and satisfaction with life, emotion, emotion regulation, cognitive function, social interactions, dietary choices, stress, and depressive symptoms. Exposures via the olfactory pathway can also lead to (anti-)inflammatory outcomes. Increased understanding is needed regarding the ways in which odorants generated by nature (i.e., natural olfactory environments) affect human well-being. With perspectives from a range of health, social, and natural sciences, we provide an overview of this unique sensory system, four consensus statements regarding olfaction and the environment, and a conceptual framework that integrates the olfactory pathway into an understanding of the effects of natural environments on human well-being. We then discuss how this framework can contribute to better accounting of the impacts of policy and land-use decision-making on natural olfactory environments and, in turn, on planetary health.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
12 April 2024Accepted
15 May 2024Published Online
Subjects: CAH13 - architecture, building and planning > CAH13-01 - architecture, building and planning > CAH13-01-01 - architecture
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > College of Architecture
Depositing User: Gemma Tonks
Date Deposited: 06 Jun 2024 12:26
Last Modified: 06 Jun 2024 12:26

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


In this section...