There is information that when we imagine things, we activate some of the same brain mechanisms as when we experience them physically. It would be interesting to know whether imagining the scent of a food that one likes “lights up the brain” as actually smelling that food does. Seems like a reasonable description of what I personally experience.

Bal Simon
Bellevue, Wash.

According to Zhihua Zou of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, neuroimaging studies of people recalling odor, taste, visual, and auditory imagery reveal that these processes activate brain areas that are largely overlapping with, “but not identical to,” those activated by actual sensory stimuli. The more details in the imagery, the more similarity in brain activity there is between imagery and perception, studies have found. —C. Brownlee