Some researchers are suggesting that smell and taste be considered one sensory channel, not two. A paper to be published in The Quarterly Review of Biology written by Mollo and 14 colleagues “proposes the unification of all chemosensory modalities into a single sense. . . . The paper thus envisages a rupture with what emerges as one of the most deeply rooted confirmation biases in the scientific literature: the differentiation between gustation (taste) and olfaction (smell). . . .
An exhibit at the Museum of Craft and Design (San Francisco; February 12 to June 5, 2022, “Living with Scents”) focuses on scent-based experiences. The show’s website reports that “researchers and practitioners, from the neurosciences to the humanities, have strived to gain a better understanding of the sense of smell, which deeply, yet often unknowingly, shapes the way we live: our eating habits, our social interactions, our emotions, memories, and even our well-being and safety. . . . scents may thus be purposefully used to improve many aspects of our lives. . . .
Arshamian and teammates determined that worldwide people tend to find the same odors pleasant to smell. As they report, they “asked 225 individuals from 9 diverse nonwestern cultures—hunter-gatherer to urban dwelling—to rank . . . odorants from most to least pleasant. Contrary to expectations, culture explained only 6% of the variance in pleasantness rankings, whereas individual variability or personal taste explained 54%. Importantly, there was substantial global consistency, with molecular identity explaining 41% of the variance in odor pleasantness rankings. . . .
Neuroscience research links what we smell to how we think and behave. Effects are robust, long-lasting, and present even when scent concentrations are so “light” that people are not consciously aware odors are present.
De Groot evaluated how in-store scents influence shopping behavior. He determined via data collected in “a second-hand clothing store [where study participants] could face one of three conditions: fresh linen scent (pleasant and semantically priming ‘clean clothing’ increasing the products' value), vanilla sandalwood scent (pleasant control odor), or regular store odor (odorless control). . . . . that fresh linen scent almost doubled consumer spending vs. the odorless control and the pleasant control odor.
Shiner’s discussion of scents, art, and scents in/as art addresses, in a thought-provoking way, the role of sensory experiences in our lives.
A Tomasi-lead team has added to our understanding of the role scents play in our lives; their findings are published in the Journal of Medical Research and Health Sciences.
Research by Syrjanen and colleagues, linking responses to faces and odors smelled while evaluating them, can likely to applied in additional contexts.
Sabiniewicz directed a research team that found that adding scents to virtual reality experiences may affect how pleasant they seem.
Cotneilio and colleagues studied relationships between sense of agency and scents.