Encourage Emotional Purchases with Aroma
In a recent piece on Weekend Today (video below), co-anchor Erica Hill demonstrated the connection between your sense of smell and your emotions.
She shared comments from separate male and female shoppers at a grocery store. “When I think about Pine-Sol,” the man said, “I think about my youth and all the good memories I had growing up.”
Referring to the jug of Tide she was about to take off the shelf, the female shopper said, “Ya’ know, sometimes I think of my grandmother, leaning out the window, hanging the clothes on the line. Kind of a nice family memory.”
“It’s those feelings,” Hill added, “that keep people coming back for more” fragrance-infused products, reminding us that the $3.5 billion home fragrance industry relies “not only on your nose, but also on your heart.”
Dr. Pamela Dalton, a researcher at the Monell Chemical Senses Center, explained the reason that smell and memory are so closely linked. “Part of the brain that processes odor information is very close to the part of the brain that processes emotion and memory,” she said, “and so it’s thought that that’s why there is such a tight connection between the odor that we smell and emotion that we experience.”
Hill added that “while we can recognize 10,000 different odors, we don’t have specific language to describe them. We rely on memory to put them into context.”
Researchers then blindfolded Hill and brought in something for her to smell. She said “It smells like Mimi. It smells like my grandmother’s.” The researchers had placed a pot roast in front of her. Clearly remembering her childhood, Hill smiled and said, “Any time I smell this I am immediately at my grandparent’s house in New Hampshire. It’s cold because it’s wintertime, but it’s warm and fun inside.”