The Smell of Jazz: Crossmodal Correspondences Between Music, Odor, and Emotion


People can systematically match information from different senses, and these matches are known as crossmodal correspondences. Most work on these correspondences has explored how they might arise through neural mechanisms, statistical covariance in the environment, or semantic associations (e.g., Spence, 2011). Recently, Palmer, Schloss, Xu, & Prado-León (2013) demonstrated that at least some color-music correspondences can be explained by emotional mediation. The present study investigates the emotion mediation hypothesis for correspondences between odor and music, testing whether the strength of odor-music matches for particular odors and musical selections can be predicted by the similarity of the emotional associations with the odors and music. We found that perceived matches were higher when the emotional responses were similar and that a model including emotional dimensions captured a significant amount of the variance of match scores. These results provide new evidence that crossmodal correspondences are mediated by emotions.

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