Our olfactometer in the world of fragrances

The world of fragrances is fascinating. Just like our reactions to them. Sometimes positive, sometimes negative, and most frequently – completely unaware, resulting from pure physiology. Therefore, at Neuro Device, we decided to deal with those reactions and we have introduced the method of comprehensive measurement of fragrance perception to the marketing researches carried out by our Institute of Sensory Analysis (ISA). It is extremely reliable, and the companies which come to us, get really concrete help in building their image. Today, color and sound are not the only important things.

The olfactometer constructed by us stands out in many aspects. The commonly used olfactometers are simple devices, the operation of which consists in the emission of a fragrance which the tested person smells and evaluates. However, one breath is not equal to another breath, and the perception of a fragrance is mainly dependent on its depth, rhythm and the breathing pause.  The expected reliability of the test requires taking all these parameters into account and adjusting the method of the aroma emission to the respondent’s breath. This is exactly how our olfactometer works.

Because of the already mentioned fact that we are often unaware of our reactions to fragrances, we don’t want the test to be only a questionnaire of answers. After all, we are scientists and we perform our research as scientists: in a reliable manner. That is why the Neuro Device olfactometer was connected to other devices (Eyetracker, EEG, GSR, EMG), which allows us to simultaneously monitor the size of pupils, emotions, the stimulation level and breath. Because all this changes, even though we are not aware of this, under the influence of specific aromas and affects our assessment of the situation and undertaken actions.

With the use of a correctly selected fragrance we can make our client staying at the Customer Service point, for example in the bank branch, feel more safe and have more trust in advisors, a SPA visitor be more relaxed, and the hospital patient calm down and alleviate their fears. A Client of a supermarket in which a bergamot fragrance is sprayed, maybe will not pay much attention to it, but with pleasure will stay longer in the shop.

How to create a specific image using a fragrance? Let’s take a look at this example: some time ago, an automotive company, which was looking for the perfect aroma for their showrooms, came to us. We were testing two variants for them: respondents subjected to a more stimulating smell felt more fresh and perceived the brand as a sporty and fast one. For comparison, the ones who smelled relaxing fragrances, calmed down and described the brand as safe and family-oriented.

We are constantly surrounded by various types of aromas and our brains can distinguish about 10 thousand of them, so often when we enter the given room, the new space and multitude of stimuli prevent us to perceive all of them.  On the other hand, our brains are so constructed that the area responsible for processing  olfactory stimuli is also responsible for memory and experiencing emotions. Therefore, specific and strong memories are very often caused by a specific fragrance, not an image, sound or taste. For example, people associate Christmas with the aroma of a Christmas tree, and a person close to us will come to our mind when we smell her or his perfume.

It is also worth remembering that the perception of fragrance stimuli is a strongly individual matter also dependent on cultural conditions. There will be a difference in reaction of a European and an Asian to the smell of oriental spices or fruits. For the former it will be a reminder of holidays, for the latter – a reminder of childhood. Vanilla will have a stimulating effect for an American, and a relaxing effect on a Pole. The latter will also have a very positive reaction to the smell of freshly cut grass or baked cake, which will probably remind them of their childhood.

Therefore, it is so important to precisely test the organism’s reactions to external stimuli and do it in the most precise, preferably scientific, manner. We can learn a lot thanks to this.

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