Color-odor interactions: A review and model

Debra A. Zellner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Certain colors are seen as corresponding to, and thus appropriate to, certain odors (e.g., red for cherry odor). When colors accompany odors, our perceptions of the odors are changed. Appropriate colors often affect our perception of the odors differently from inappropriate colors. This paper discusses the literature on color-odor correspondences including possible causes of these correspondences. It then reviews findings on the influence of color on odor identification, odor discrimination, odor intensity, and odor pleasantness. Color's effect on both orthonasal and retronasal olfaction is discussed. A model for how color exerts its effects on odor is proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)155-169
Number of pages15
JournalChemosensory Perception
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2013


  • Color
  • Color-odor interaction
  • Identification
  • Multimodal
  • Odor
  • Odor intensity
  • Odor pleasantness
  • Olfaction


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