"In a 2006 study published in the journal NeuroImage, researchers in Spain asked participants to read words with strong odor associations, along with neutral words, while their brains were being scanned by a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) machine. When subjects looked at the Spanish words for ‘perfume’ and ‘coffee,’ their primary olfactory cortex lit up; when they saw the words that mean ‘chair’ and ‘key,’ this region remained dark. The way the brain handles metaphors has also received extensive study; some scientists have contended that figures of speech like ‘a rough day’ are so familiar that they are treated simply as words and no more. Last month, however, a team of researchers from Emory University reported in Brain & Language that when subjects in their laboratory read a metaphor involving texture, the sensory cortex, responsible for perceiving texture through touch, became active. Metaphors like ‘The singer had a velvet voice’ and ‘He had leathery hands’ roused the sensory cortex, while phrases matched for meaning, like ‘The singer had a pleasing voice’ and ‘He had strong hands,’ did not."
— The Neuroscience of Your Brain on Fiction by Annie Murphy Paul