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The emotional power of odors: Identifying the dimensions referring to feelings produced by odors

Published inSPISE 2007: Proceedings, p. 43-49
Presented at HoChiMinh city, Vietnam, July 26-27, 2007
Publication date2007
Abstract

There is broad literature on the emotional effect of odors but, so far, little concern with the precise mechanism underlying the elicitation of emotions via olfactory stimuli. One reason for this neglect might be the lack of answers to a major question that underlie any research on odors and emotions: What exactly are the emotions associated to odors and how are they organised? The major issue addressed in the present paper concerns the nature of the verbal labels that refer to the specific states produced by odors. We conducted a series of studies in order to examine which terms are best suited to describe the feelings associated to odors and autobiographical memories. In Study 1, the relevance of a broad list of candidate affect terms to describe odor-related feelings was examined by two groups of participants with different level of knowledge about odors. In study 2, the most relevant terms retained from study 1 were evaluated with actual odorant samples and the data were submitted to a series of exploratory factor analyses to reduce the set of variables to a smaller set of summary-scales and to get a preliminary sense of the differentiation of affects elicited by odors. The Study 3 replicated Study 2 with a larger and more representative sample of odorant samples and participants. Overall, the findings point to a structure of affective responses to odors that differs from the more traditional taxonomies of emotion such as posited by discrete emotion or dimensional theories and suggest that affective states elicited by odors are structured around few dimensions that clearly reflect the role of olfaction in social interactions, danger prevention and arousal/relaxation sensations.

Keywords
  • Emotion
  • Feelings
  • Odor
  • Scale
Research group
Citation (ISO format)
CHREA, Christelle et al. The emotional power of odors: Identifying the dimensions referring to feelings produced by odors. In: SPISE 2007: Proceedings. HoChiMinh city, Vietnam. [s.l.] : [s.n.], 2007. p. 43–49.
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  • PID : unige:98491
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