Masculinity/Femininity of fine fragrances affects color-odor correspondences: A case for cognitions influencing cross-modal correspondences

Debra A. Zellner, Amy McGarry, Rachel Mattern-McClory, Diana Abreu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

22 Scopus citations


Four experiments found that the colors people choose as corresponding to the odors of fine fragrances are influenced by the perceived masculinity/ femininity of those fragrances. Experiment 1 examined the colors chosen for 3 male and 3 female fragrances. The pattern of colors chosen for female fragrances differed from that for male fragrances. Experiments 2 and 3 found that colors assigned to 2 unisex fragrances depend on whether subjects thought that the fragrances were male or female fragrances. Experiment 4, by labeling unisex fragrances as male or female, showed that this difference in color selection was the result of subjects' thinking that a fragrance is a male or female fragrance. Thinking of the masculinity/femininity of a fragrance influences the selection of colors that corresponds to these odors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-222
Number of pages12
JournalChemical Senses
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Feb 2008



  • Color
  • Cross-modal correspondences
  • Femininity
  • Masculinity
  • Odor
  • Synesthesia

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