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Linguistic features of fragrances: the role of grammatical gender and gender associations

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Publication details

JournalAttention, Perception & Psychophysics
DateAccepted/In press - 1 May 2019
DateE-pub ahead of print (current) - 1 May 2019
Number of pages15
Early online date1/05/19
Original languageEnglish


Odors are often difficult to identify and name, which leaves them vulnerable to the influence of language. The present study tests the boundaries of the effect of language on odor cognition by examining the effect of grammatical gender. We presented participants with male and female fragrances paired with descriptions of masculine or feminine grammatical gender. In Experiment 1 we found that memory for fragrances was enhanced when the grammatical gender of a fragrance description matched the gender of the fragrance. In Experiment 2 we found memory for fragrances was affected by both grammatical gender and gender associations in fragrance descriptions – recognition memory for odors was higher when the gender was incongruent. In sum, we demonstrated that even subtle aspects of language can affect odor cognition.

Bibliographical note

© The Author(s) 2019

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