Color Affects Perceived Odor Intensity

Debra A. Zellner, Mary A. Kautz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

188 Scopus citations


In Experiment 1, some odorous solutions (e.g., strawberry) were rated as smelling stronger when colored (e.g., red) than when colorless. Experiment 2 showed this effect to be due to a perceptual change rather than a response to experimental demand characteristics. Experiment 3 showed that the color-induced increase in odor intensity is not due to subjects' preexperimental experience with particular color-odor combinations, because the increase occurred with novel ones. We conclude that color induces a weak olfactory percept that combines with odorant-induced percepts. The effect may be due to conditioning or may be the result of residual intersensory neural connections left over from infancy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-397
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1990


Dive into the research topics of 'Color Affects Perceived Odor Intensity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this