Scents

Merging Smell and Taste (05-20-22)

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). . . .

Scent Show (05-19-22)

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. . . .

Odor Pleasantness Universals (04-06-22)

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. . . .

Power Scenting

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.
 

Scent in Stores (11-02-21)

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.

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