Adjunct Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior


Rachel Herz, Ph.D. is a neuroscientist and world leading expert on the psychological science of smell. She has been conducting research on the sense of smell, emotion, perception, motivated behavior and cognition since 1990.  Dr. Herz is a TEDx speaker, has published nearly 100 original research papers, received numerous awards and grants, co-authored scholarly handbooks.  She has been on the faculty at Brown University since 2000 and is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of Psychiatry and Human Behavior, as well as a faculty member in the  Food Studies program. She has also been a part-time faculty member in the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Boston College since 2013. Dr. Herz is the author of several academic and popular science books including the leading college textbook on Sensation & Perception (Oxford University Press) now in its 6th edition, The Scent of Desire: Discovering Our Enigmatic Sense of Smell (2007; Harper Collins), which was selected as a finalist for the “2009 AAAS Prize for Excellence in Science Books,” That’s Disgusting: Unraveling the Mysteries of Repulsion (2012; W.W. Norton & Co), which analyzes the emotion of disgust from culture to neuroscience, and was listed as a New York Times Book Review Editor’s Choice. Her latest book Why You Eat What You Eat: The Science Behind Our Relationship with Food (2018; W.W. Norton & Co) explores how our senses, brain and psychology govern our perception of food, and the experiences and consequences of eating. Why You Eat What You Eat was a finalist for the “2018 Readable Feast Awards” and listed among the “Best Food Books of 2018” by The Smithsonian and The New Yorker.  Dr. Herz is also a professional consultant to various industries regarding scent, taste, food and flavor, and is frequently called upon as an expert witness in legal cases involving olfaction.  Her website is here.

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