As Light as Your Scent: Effects of Smell and Sound on Body Image Perception

  • Giada BrianzaEmail author
  • Ana Tajadura-JiménezEmail author
  • Emanuela MaggioniEmail author
  • Dario PitteraEmail author
  • Nadia Bianchi-BerthouzeEmail author
  • Marianna ObristEmail author
Conference paper
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 11749)


How people mentally represent their body appearance (i.e., body image perception - BIP) does not always match their actual body. BIP distortions can lead to a detriment in physical and emotional health. Recent works in HCI have shown that technology can be used to change people’s BIP through visual, tactile, proprioceptive, and auditory stimulation. This paper investigates, for the first time, the effect of olfactory stimuli, by looking at a possible enhancement of a known auditory effect on BIP. We present two studies building on emerging knowledge in the field of crossmodal correspondences. First, we explored the correspondences between scents and body shapes. Then, we investigated the impact of combined scents and sounds on one’s own BIP. Our results show that scent stimuli can be used to make participants feel lighter or heavier (i.e., using lemon or vanilla) and to enhance the effect of sound on perceived body lightness. We discuss how these findings can inform future research and design directions to overcome body misperception and create novel augmented and embodied experiences.


Body image perception Smell Sound Crossmodal correspondence Scent Emotions 



This project has been funded by the European Research Council (ERC) under the EU’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under Grant No.: 638605. Ana Tajadura-Jiménez was supported by Grants No.: RYC-2014-15421, PSI2016-79004-R (MAGIC SHOES; AEI/FEDER, UE), Ministerio de Economía, Industria y Competitividad of Spain. We would like to thank all participants for taking part in our experiments.

Supplementary material

488595_1_En_10_MOESM1_ESM.mp4 (28.9 mb)
Supplementary material 1 (mp4 29643 KB)


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Copyright information

© IFIP International Federation for Information Processing 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SCHI Lab, Creative Technology Research Group, School of Engineering and InformaticsUniversity of SussexBrightonUK
  2. 2.DEI Interactive Systems Group, Computer Science DepartmentUniversidad Carlos III de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.UCLICUniversity College of LondonLondonUK

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