Typology of fragrance emotions

Date of publication: May 15, 2005

Author: Pieter Desmet


The fact that we are capable of distinguishing many distinct emotions is illustrated by the vast number of emotion-denoting words that exist in most human languages. In the English language, for example, researchers have reported lists of up to 400 words to cover the full range of human emotions. Given this abundance, most emotion researchers rely on typologies of emotions to structure their studies. Although this approach seems applicable to fragrance research, the available typologies may be too general to differentiate between fragrance responses. Therefore, this paper reports an approach for developing a typology of functional fragrance emotions, that is, emotions likely to be elicited (or often elicited) by functional fragrances. In this approach, a set of basic emotions was assembled from literature, which was reduced to a set of 14 emotions with an experiment that measured emotional responses elicited by bath foam and fabric conditioner fragrances. The findings are explained with the use of appraisal theory of emotions, implications for fragrance research are discussed, and further research directions are indicated.

Pieter Desmet


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