Impact of Olfaction on Information Recall: Perspectives from an Empirical Study

Impact of Olfaction on Information Recall: Perspectives from an Empirical Study

Gheorghita Ghinea (Brunel University, UK) and Oluwakemi Ademoye (Brunel University, UK)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2521-1.ch023
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Multimedia lies on an infotainment continuum, using multiple forms of information content to both inform and entertain users. In other words, multimedia applications are usually intended to add to the knowledge of the user, via its information content, as well as to keep the user entertained, i.e. interested or amused. In previous work, the authors have presented details of studies carried out to study the influence of using olfactory media content to augment multimedia applications on user perception and particularly focusing on users’ enjoyment of the multimedia experience. Thus, in this respect, the authors have studied the influence of the use of olfaction in multimedia applications on entertaining users. Consequently, in this chapter, they focus their attention on the influence of using olfaction to augment multimedia applications with regards to the informational aspect of multimedia systems and applications.
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Olfaction And Audiovisual Content

The first recorded attempt of combining artificially generated smell with audiovisual content dates back to 1906 when an audience was sprayed with the scent of roses while watching the screening of the Rose Bowl football game (Longino in Kaye, 2001), however, there is no mention of what the audience reaction to this was. The next significant development in the use of scented media in the film industry happened in 1943 (Kiger & Smith, 2006; Smith & Kiger, 2006), when Hans Laube, who had earlier discovered a technique for removing odors from an enclosed place, such as an auditorium, was also able to reverse this process to release selected odors into similar places at specific times and durations. Using his newly discovered technology, and with the help of his colleague, Robert Barth, they produced a 35 minute ‘smell-o-drama’ movie called Mein Traum in which 35 different odors were released to accompany the drama presentation. However, the technology behind the production of the emitted smells enjoyed more success than the scented drama presentation itself, with the audience agreeing that while the smells emitted were promptly released and subsequently removed, they smelled fake. Nonetheless, it was the success of Laube’s technology for emitting smells that Michael Todd Jr was to rely on later in 1960 in his Smell-O-Vision Scent of Mystery film production (Kiger & Smith, 2006; Smith & Kiger, 2006).

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