Beyond the Proustian Phenomenon: the Effect of Product-Embedded Scent on Memory For Product Information

Aradhna Krishna, University of Michigan, USA
May Lwin, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
Maureen Morrin, Rutgers University, USA
Jochen Wirtz, National University of Singapore, Singapore
We propose and demonstrate that product-embedded scent significantly enhances recall of product information and that this effect persists over time. Three studies are conducted. We show that unaided recall is higher for scented versus unscented products (suggesting superior encoding), as is aided recall (suggesting further enhancement of recall with a scent retrieval cue). Both congruent and incongruent product scents are found to be effective at enhancing memory, and product scent is shown to be a more effective memory device than product color. Additionally, we demonstrate a boundary condition for these effects, with competitive interference negating the memory advantage of scent.
[ to cite ]:
Aradhna Krishna, May Lwin, Maureen Morrin, and Jochen Wirtz (2009) ,"Beyond the Proustian Phenomenon: the Effect of Product-Embedded Scent on Memory For Product Information", in NA - Advances in Consumer Research Volume 36, eds. Ann L. McGill and Sharon Shavitt, Duluth, MN : Association for Consumer Research, Pages: 127-130.