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Which Colors Do You Smell?

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A new study finds that we can actually smell colors! Wonder what red smells like? 

According to a responder on the famous Yahoo! Answers, it smells like strawberries, lobster and red marker pen. The responder also noted that some people have synesthesia, a rare condition in which people associate one sense with an unrelated other. For example, seeing sounds, numbers appearing as colors, etc. Sounds pretty odd doesn’t it? 

We all simply see colors and smell scents but this responder isn’t too far off. There may be some truth to it that we can smell colors, according to a recent study. Hope all the other colors smell good too!

International researchers have found that non-synesthetes constantly associate certain colors with certain smells. But, when a color is paired with an unexpected smell, people see the combination as less pleasant.

They tested whether the smells are preprogrammed in our brains or based on cultural factors. The study looked at multiple different cultures: Dutch, Netherlands-residing Chinese, German, Malay, Malaysian Chinese, and Americans.

Researchers used a 36-color palette with 14 "odor pens" and asked 20 people in each group to rate which colors were most and least corresponding with each smell.

The group largely agreed that the fruity scents smelled like pink and red, while the musty scents smelled orange and brown. Seems pretty obvious doesn’t? Well, while most cultures agreed that soap smells like lighter pastel colors, Germans and Netherlands-residing Chinese thought of a dark grey hue.

That very familiar plastic smell mostly provoked a dark, neutral color, but Germans and Dutch thought of bright pink and orange. In all, most cultures were alike in their determinations, while Malaysians tended to be the outliers.

The study determined that association between smells and colors depended on specific aspects in different cultures such as language, cooking, age and travel experience. 

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