Liking or disliking: its all in the scent

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New York, Dec 9 (UNI) Remember the comforting odour of your mother's body, the sweet fragrance of flowers or the disgusting smell of rotten eggs.

Smells that can conjure up emotions and memories from the past can also affect the likeability of one human towards another, new findings suggest.

A new study from Northwestern University revealed that senses provided subliminal perceptual information that affects a person's behaviour towards other people.

Lead author of the study, Wen Li, said, minute amounts of odours elicited salient psychological and physiological changes suggesting that humans got much more information from barely perceptible scents than previously understood.

The study published in Science Daily suggested that people conscious of the barely noticeable scents were able to discount that sensory information and just evaluate the faces,'' Dr Wen said, adding, ''It only was when smell sneaked in without being noticed that judgments about likeability were biased.'' The study adds to a growing body of research suggesting that subliminal sensory information -- whether from scents, vision or hearing -- affects perception. ''We are beginning to understand more about how perception and memory function by taking into account various types of influences that operate without our explicit knowledge,'' co researcher Ken Paller said.


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