Cross-Modal Associations Between Odors and Colors

Cross-Modal association is the pattern of how our brains naturally integrate and simultaneously utilize sensory inputs from two or more of our human senses. The Wine Aroma Matrix is based on the cross-modal association of our vision and olfactory senses. For example, when you first tasted cinnamon toast not only did you learn the aroma of cinnamon spice but you also learned the ‘brown color’ of cinnamon spice. The cross-modal association of vision and olfactory senses naturally enhances our ability to recall and identify specific wine aromas.

Many of the odors that we come across in everyday life can be readily described by means of color names. For example, it is more likely that a person would use the word ‘‘yellow’’ to describe the odor of a lemon than the word ‘‘blue’’ if they were asked to describe their olfactory experiences using color terms. Similarly, if you were in a market and suddenly noticed the wonderful smell of ripe strawberries you would look for a fruit that was red rather than for a fruit that was orange. Even though in everyday life the existence of such cross-modal associations between vision and olfaction would appear obvious, to date, surprisingly little research has attempted to investigate this potentially important topic.

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