Rachel S. Herz

Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior
(401) 863-9576
Office Location: 
Metcalf 338
Research Focus: 
Olfaction, flavor, eating behavior, emotion and sensory cognition

Dr. Herz is a leading world expert on the psychological science of smell, and has been conducting research on olfaction, sensory perception, emotion, motivated behavior and cognition since 1990. She holds an adjunct appointment in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior and sometimes teaches in the Department of Cognitive, Linguistic and Psychological Sciences. Dr. Herz has published over 75 original research papers, received numerous awards and grants and co-authored several college textbooks. Highlights of her research include how odor-evoked memory is emotionally unique and evocative, how emotional associations can change odor perception, and how odors can be conditioned to emotions and subsequently influence behavior. Her work also addresses the connections between taste perception, disgust sensitivity and morality and how emotions, cognition and sensory factors influence food selection and intake. Dr. Herz is the author of 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 analyzes the emotion of disgust from culture to neuroscience, and has received numerous accolades from both popular and scholarly presses. Currently in the process of publication, Rachel Herz has a forthcoming book, Why You Eat What You Eat, that explores how our senses and psychology govern our perception of food, and the experience and consequences of eating.