Music has the power to stir up varying emotions in humàn beings. Some go as far as calling music the language of emotion since every music piece has structure, syntax and progression. Listening to a song or a musical composition can draw out feelings of happiness, sadness, nostalgia, anxiety, and a host of other emotional responses processed by the brain.
Not everyone listens to music intentionally; but even if heard as pipe-in music, or from someone’s else’s device, music can still evoke even a slight emotional response. The human brain can go as far as retaining the sound of the last piece of music it received, via a natural response commonly referred to as LSS or “last song syndrome.” Such is the power of music that continuing researches are being undertaken for a thorough understanding about the physiological effects of music.
Studies include pinpointing other areas in the brain that trigger memories, like the responses linked to scents or smells. Previous researches show that scents can likewise affect moods that release different emotions, including negative reactions like disgust or anger. In natural settings, both sounds and smells are present as enhancements to visual perceptions. The natural smells of trees, of flowers or of fresh air combined with the gentle sound of rustling leaves, of rippling water, or of birds tweeting messages to each other, are certain to bring out idyllic emotions.
Ongoing Studies About Crossmodal Referencing Performed by the Human Brain
Since both sounds and smells can trigger emotions, researchers have reason to believe that the brain performs crossmodal referencing when processing information sent simultaneously by the auditory and olfactory systems.
Crossmodal Referencing pertains to brain activity involving interactions between different sensory systems when interpreting information into perceptions, e.g. optical and auditory, optical and olfactory, nervous system and optical or auditory. The sound of rippling water immediately provides an outdoor adventurer with information of a river or stream nearby, which when cross referenced with the optical system will help locate the source of the sound.
However, the human sense of smell tends to be selective, storing mostly information or memories related to happier or pleasant times. The theory is that when the nervous system receives a smell that is foreboding, it releases hormones that cause a person to react: such as covering the nose to prevent the smell from entering the system or to take a flight response when toxic smell is in the air. Although still largely unproven, it somehow explains why crossmodal referencing between the olfactory and auditory systems generally produces positive or pleasant mood changes.
Thorough Understanding of Crossmodal Referencing Between Sensory Systems as Marketing Tool
When creating marketing or advertising concepts, and structuring ideas about background music, graphic presentations and product sampling, consider the brain’s crossmodal activities in processing information. Perfumery businesses can even take a step further, by working on the idea of creating scent bottles that also produce sounds like a jewelry box as a way of enhancing perceptions about the fragrance.
Scent diffusers, whiff boxes, or scented warmers, packaged in ornate bottles, jars and boxes, release scent molecules in grain grams to release subtle fragrances inside a room. If used in offices outfitted with pipe-in music, its mood-changing effect will likely be harmonizing. Adding music to home use of those scentsy products, will basically produce the same harmonious effect.