Color of scents: Chromatic stimuli modulate odor responses in the human brain

Robert A. Österbauer, Paul M. Matthews, Mark Jenkinson, Christian F. Beckmann, Peter C. Hansen, Gemma A. Calvert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

102 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Color has a profound effect on the perception of odors. For example, strawberry-flavored drinks smell more pleasant when colored red than green and descriptions of the "nose" of a wine are dramatically influenced by its color. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging, we demonstrate a neurophysiological correlate of these cross-modal visual influences on olfactory perception. Subjects were scanned while exposed either to odors or colors in isolation or to color-odor combinations that were rated on the basis of how well they were perceived to match. Activity in caudal regions of the orbitofrontal cortex and in the insular cortex increased progressively with the perceived congruency of the odor-color pairs. These findings demonstrate the neuronal correlates of olfactory response modulation by color cues in brain areas previously identified as encoding the hedonic value of smells.

LanguageEnglish
Pages3434-3441
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Neurophysiology
Volume93
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Physiology

Cite this

Österbauer, R. A., Matthews, P. M., Jenkinson, M., Beckmann, C. F., Hansen, P. C., & Calvert, G. A. (2005). Color of scents: Chromatic stimuli modulate odor responses in the human brain. Journal of Neurophysiology, 93(6), 3434-3441. https://doi.org/10.1152/jn.00555.2004