Virtual Reality and Scent (10-29-20)

Scents can enhance virtual experiences. Flavian and colleagues report that “Our experiences are constructed by the stimulation of all our senses. . . . This study analyzes how the addition of ambient scent to a VR experience affects digital pre-experiences in a service context (tourism). Results from a laboratory experiment confirmed that embodied VR devices, together with pleasant and congruent [consistent with experience] ambient scents, enhance sensory stimulation, which . . .influence affective [emotional] and behavioral reactions. . . . Using scents in closed, public spaces (e.g. exhibition centers, travel agencies) can be troublesome as the scents might mix with other odors in the environment. . . . A possible solution to these challenges could be to use isolated cabins for the entire multisensory experience. . . . In a nutshell, although a pleasant scent can improve the digital multisensory experience, congruency is key to fostering positive customer reactions.”

Carlos Flavian, Sergio Ibanez-Sanchez, and Carlos Orus.  2021. “The Influence of Scent on Virtual Reality Experiences:  The Role of Aroma-Content Congruence.”  Journal of Business Research, vol. 123, pp. 289-301, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbusres.2020.09.036