The idea that olfaction and emotion are closely linked has long been a pervasive belief in people’s minds. But how much of this belief is fact, and how much just folk wisdom?
Apart from the popular view, psychological research has shown that odors car influence mood, evoke powerful experiences of pleasure or displeasure and produce sensations of arousal or relaxation. Moreover, odors seem to be a very powerful cue in bringing emotional experiences from memory back to awareness.
Despite these well-established findings, there has been little concern with the precise mechanism underlying the olfactory elicitation of emotion - particularly in relation to the visual and auditory modalities.
The EmOdor project, funded by, and carried out in collaboration with Firmenich SA, aims at heightening our understanding of the olfactory preference acquisition and organization.
It is divided into five main subprojects :
- We investigate the determinants of the perceived liking and the modulation of subjective liking by context and decision-making processes
- We test the sensitivity of existing physiological indicators to measure differences in affective reaction to odors and develop new indicators (e.g., thermal facial response)
- We study the influence of fragrances on cognitive performances
- We examine cultural influences on emotional verbalization during odor perception (GEOS).
- Facilities for conducting empirical research are mainly the Brain and Behavior Laboratory where we use questionnaires, behavioral measures and psychophysiological recordings (i.e., EEG, peripheral electrophysiology, fMRI).