Rachel S. Herz

Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychiatry
(401) 863-9576
Office Location: 
Metcalf 338
Research Focus: 
Olfaction, emotion and sensory cognition

Dr. Rachel Herz has her primary appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and teaches in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences. Dr. Herz has been conducting research on olfaction, emotion and sensory cognition since 1990 and is considered to be one of the world’s leading experts on the psychology of smell.  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, and mechanisms involved in scent-marketing. Her most recent research involves investigating relationships between the sense of taste and various facets of emotional disgust. In October 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 currently writing a new book which explores the science, psychology and popular culture of disgust.