Effects of Fragrance on Emotions: Moods and Physiology

Written by Leanna Serras

International Flavors & Fragrances, or IFF, is a huge producer of both flavors as well as fragrances. A member of the Standard and Poor's 500, an index of 500 stocks, IFF has sales of almost $3 billion back in 2010. The business of IFF is flavors and fragrances, specifically attempts to measure and calculate both the physiological as well as the subjective impacts of aromas on the emotions of people. The headquarters of IFF is in New York, New York.

Before one understands mood mapping, one has to understand the basis for it, which is the mood of a person. The mood of a person can be thought of as an emotional state of mind that can last for a long time and features both negative as well as positive qualities. Just as people are different, so, too, are moods, and moods can vary enormously from person to person at any given time for that person. Not surprisingly, people who tend to be pessimistic have bad moods for a long period of time, whether their pessimism is natural or learned. On the other end of the spectrum, people who tend to be optimistic have moods that are better, for a longer period of time.

Mood mapping involves in its simplest form the ability for one to map his or her own moods in a visual way. How it works is that one just marks his or her mood at any given time on either a chart or a map. The point of this exercise is to accurately describe how one feels without the benefit of using words, though. The purpose of this exercise is for people to begin to see their moods in a different way, and this aim is greatly helped by way of the capability to compare and contrast one's moods at various times of the day and from one day to the next. The various moods that go with mood mapping are generally action, anxiety, calm, depressed, negative, positive, high energy and low energy.

Companies like IFF use fragrances to measure mood, and while this may seem implausible, IFF does use a means to measure mood based on different fragrances. The way that IFF measures mood based on different fragrances is remarkably simple, yet produces reliable results. All that is involved is offering a choice of eight mood categories to IFF's panelists, who then choose a category of mood after sniffing some aroma samples. Their choice of which particular mood category to pick must be based upon which aroma sample they personally believe to best fit with that particular category of mood.

Not surprisingly, some choices of fragrances are going to be more appealing than others smells and vice versa. In addition, some smells are also going to be more appealing to men, while yet other scents are going to be more appealing to women. In the case of men, the scents or fragrances that are most appealing to them are generally ones that have to do with food. For example, men like the scent combination of pumpkin pie along with lavender. Other popular scents that are appealing to men include black licorice, orange, vanilla, buttered popcorn and lily of the valley. Women find scents like cucumber, chocolate, baby powder and pumpkin pie.

Recent research and studies on scents and fragrances have confirmed that men and women respond to different scents and fragrances in different ways. Recent research and studies on scents and fragrances have also verified that one of the primary reasons of scent and fragrance is to attract the opposite sex. For example, according to Dr. Alan Hirsch of The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation, males are more attracted to simple scents that are based on food smells like cinnamon rolls, instead of all types of perfumes combined. Spending a lot of money on perfumes to attract the opposite sex is not going to be that successful, says the doctor.

Studies like those conducted by Hirsch verify that people might not need to rely on perfumes to snag a mate. This should be of further relief to people who are stressed out about the reports of the toxicity that are present in some designer perfumes. Women looking to wear scents and fragrances that feature these smells that are more based on food than anything else can look to products like shampoos and hand lotions. This is in contrast to wearing scents and fragrances that usually come from perfumes.

To learn more about mood mapping, check these links.

Some Techniques of Mood Mapping

IFF Website

Profile of IFF

What is a Mood Map?

All About Mood Mapping