Functional Fragrance
Sensory Studies
Dual Sensory Experiments

MassiveMusic is an international creative music agency offering sonic branding, music composition and music production for advertising.

They approached us to investigate the efficiency of a functional fragrance in creating an uplifting and positive state for retail consumers. The purpose was to ultimately lubricate social experiences, increase the sense of comfort and improve people's mood while in retail spaces.

Additionally, part of MassiveMusic's sound branding process was the creation of several sonic identities. They wanted us to help test these logos to see what the minds and bodies of consumers really think of them.


Research in the context of scent has unveiled a myriad of profound associations due to the evolutionary significance of the chemosensory system across species and the close proximity of the olfactory bulb (both anatomically and functionally) to the limbic system (associated with learning, memory, emotion) in humans.

Additionally, given how short the sonic logos are, we suggested approaching the study via Event-Related Potentials (ERP) Analysis. ERP measurement is very well suited to studying the brain’s response to short sound stimuli. Most natural sounds in the world vary in spectral content over time and the brain’s registration of these changes can be monitored through ERP measurements on a millisecond by millisecond basis.

Auditory ERPs can give valuable information about certain stages of auditory processing, either with or without attentional engagement of the listener to the event. In every ERP experiment, repetition is the key. The necessary total amount of same-event repetitions varies with the experimental paradigm and the ERP component of interest, but the general rule is that more trials will result in cleaner averaged waveforms


Hypothesis was that the sensory interventions will increase Emotional Engagement and Focus while keeping a calm and relaxed state - measured via:

(i) Increase in EEG frontal beta activity
(ii) Increase in levels of Arousal
(iii) Increase in Respiratory Rate
(iv) Decrease in HRV variability
(v) Increase in HR overall
(vi) Increase in alpha frontal asymmetry


We found out that the Scent Experience created more positive engagement, more relaxation, and less cognitive activation and awareness, eliciting pleasant emotions - here's why:

  • Drop in executive mental activities like focus, attention, decision making, impulse control (increase of Theta Frontal activity)
  • Increase of Visual Processing (increase in Beta Posterior Activity)
  • Increase of Positive Engagement
  • Subjectively reduces negative emotions like Anxiety based on questionnaires

In terms of Sonic Logo, the client was trying to understand which logo generate a sense of “Uplifting Happiness”.

We found out that Sound DNA 2 created a more positive engagement, more relaxation and more focus/ awareness, eliciting emotions like serenity and calm. Whereas, Sound DNA 1 created less positive engagement, more excitement and less focus / awareness, eliciting emotions like distress.