Tuesday, February 24, 2009

What color is your fragrance?

I conducted a very informal survey last week among some of the moms and dads at my son's swim practice. I asked them to smell different fragrances, describe them to me, and then assign a color to them. Every participant described the smell with a noun like water, flowers, sunshine, or a funeral! They then associated those nouns with a particular emotion, and then assigned the fragrance its own color.

One fragrance reminded several of my participants of a flower. Well, what color do we think of when we think of a flower? One partipant said lavender (because it seemed light), another hibiscus (because the fragrance was bold), and another white (because it was a pure scent).

The same fragrance reminded all of them of flowers, but they each had a certain color in mind. What a varied response! Our perception of color is based in large part on experience and emotion. For example, my participant who said that the fragrance reminded her a flower, a hibiscus, attached an emotion to that by saying that it was a 'bold' fragrance. Once she attached an emotion to the fragrance, she could create its color, which was red.

My subjects had difficulty attaching a color to the fragrance until they were able to attach an emotion to it. One participant identified a fragrance as being yellow, because it opened him/her up and created awareness. I really had fun with this experiment and concluded that colors, scents and emotions have a real connection.

Live in color!

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