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Scent and Mood Mapping

Posted: October 5, 2006

Quest International has released the findings from their latest sensory program study, revealing the secret behind the human relationship with scent. The two-stage research, directed by Anne Churchill and John Behan, discloses that some reactions to scent are learned and depend upon the cultural traditions of the society in which you are raised, while others are “hard wired” into the human brain and are therefore consistent across different populations. In addition, the study has revealed that scent can be used to prompt a “well-being” mood.

Happiness: Research in the United Kingdom, United States and France shows the fragrance types that people associate with happiness. For the British it is fruit—red berries, tropical or orchard fruit. People in the United States agree, but in France the sweet, powdery, floral and musky woody smells were also associated with well-being and happiness.

Invigorating: The study shows that scent can invigorate. The British wake up if they smell anything citrus or herbal. Watery aromatic scents also have the same effect. In the United States, a more complex array that includes woody and spicy fragrances reveals that for Americans the association with nature is the key to energy.

Relaxing: Comforting smells associated with desserts such as vanilla, musky smells and sweet powdery scents are the odors which the British find relaxing. In France and the United States it’s the fruity smells that people find relaxing.