A smell experiment conducted to create a platform that initiates an open discussion of the individual interpretation of sensory information. To conduct these experiments, a specific smell was given to different groups of people who were then asked to identify the smell and describe a memory associated with their personal interpretation. A colour response was created in correspondence to each individual’s description, thus creating a visual representation where differences could then be easily compared.
The use of smell was inspired by plants and a study of how plants produce chemicals to communicate. The production of these chemical signals are often what we perceive as odours in which the purpose is often greatly different from human perception. The smell of pine is a good example. Humans can think of this smell as clean and refreshing, but it is in fact the result of chemical signals a pine tree produces when it is damaged. This is the trees attempt to defer harmful organisms. Since plant and human interpretations of smells are drastically different, how varied can interpretations be between humans?
Thus far, identifications through this experiment seem to be similar among different age demographics. Although, memories and visual responses corresponding to these ideas vary according to cultural and personal background. Each participant has engaged in the experiment with a sense of curiosity towards the smell itself and the realization that the other participants’ memories are different from their own. This curiosity naturally initiates discussion as there is a desire to compare the results of the experiment, especially after viewing the colour responses.