Washington: We tend to pick fragrances that trigger warm memories buried deep in our minds.
Rachel Herz of Brown University, along with Haruko Sugiyama and colleagues at the Kao Corporation in Japan and the US, set out to test how odour-evoked memories influence customers' perceptions of a product, as this has never been done before.
Such so-called "Proustian memories" are usually formed early in life and are thought of less frequently than recollections elicited by visual or verbal cues. Odor-evoked memories are also distinctly more emotional and evocative. They bring one back to the feeling of being at the original long forgotten event much more than memories triggered by any other of our senses do.
Samples of four scented body lotions were sent to 271 American women between the ages of 22 and 31 years old.
It was found that lotion fragrances that smelled pleasant and which evoked potent personal emotional memories were preferred. The more potent the memory that the fragrance triggered, the better the chances are that the lotion will be held in high regard.
Herz said that a scent's ability to elicit personal memories is more important than mere positive hedonics and how pleasant it smells.
The study is published in Springer's journal Chemosensory Perception....