By Jessica Albert

BALTIMORE (WJZ) — October is right around the corner and that means it’s pumpkin spice season.

Chances are you’ve noticed that pumpkin spice has become so popular over the years that you’re likely to find it just about everywhere this fall, from scented candles to your cup of coffee.

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But did you know there’s a science behind the popularity of this scent and flavor? Researchers say it has to do with your sense of smell and, of course, a healthy dose of nostalgia.

“It is associated with lots of positive memories that we probably have from growing up and family Thanksgivings and other kinds of fall seasonal stuff,” Johns Hopkins University doctoral candidate Sarah Cormiea said.

Researchers tell WJZ the scents of those spices — cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger — trigger warm feelings for the fall season that people tend to find comforting and irresistible.

“Smell has that special access to our memories like that and the fact that we get bombarded with pumpkin spice this time of year, it really starts to lock in those associations and keep those vivid connections going for us,” said Jason Fischer, assistant professor of psychological and brain services at Johns Hopkins University.

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The allure of pumpkin spice isn’t lost on coffee shops, whether they’re mom-and-pop shops or chains with locations across the country.

There’s such a high demand for the flavor, Dunkin’ rolled out its pumpkin spice-flavored items last month, which is earlier than the company has launched them in years past.

“Everyone just loves and looks forward to pumpkin everything,” Colleen Krygiel, a field marketing manager for Dunkin’, told WJZ.

But you don’t have to take the experts’ word for it. Just ask some of the people who clamor for pumpkin spice in their lives.

“It tastes like happiness, happiness and memories and good vibes,” resident Dominic Williams said.

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The good news for Williams and other fans? Pumpkin spice is here to stay for awhile. Dunkin’ will have its pumpkin spice products available through the end of the year.

Jessica Albert