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Table 1 Summary of peer-reviewed published studies that have demonstrated a consistent (i.e. non-random) crossmodal mapping of colours to odours (or vice versa; see Langner, 1997). While the number and type of olfactory stimuli, the number and type of visual stimuli, and the participant demographics have varied widely between studies, all have demonstrated the existence of crossmodal correspondence between colours and odours. The precise nature of the mapping, though, often varies from one study/participant sample to another. Note that certain studies have chosen to match olfactory stimulus intensity, whereas others have deliberately chosen to vary perceived olfactory intensity. The various studies listed in the table also vary in terms of whether the olfactory stimuli were easily associated with a source object or not. WEIRD is the acronym used to refer to Western, Educated, Industrialized, Rich, and Democratic undergraduate participants (very often psychology students) who constitute the subject pool for the majority of experimental psychology research (e.g. Arnett, 2008; Henrich et al., 2010)

From: Olfactory-colour crossmodal correspondences in art, science, and design

Study Number and type (in brackets) of: Participant X-modal mapping
Participants Colours Odours group LI CM SM
Von Hornbostel (1931) 3 or 4 Greyscale c. 800 WEIRD X?   
Déribéré (1978) 1000 Free written response 21 Od names General public   X X
Fiore (1993) 89 (US women) 11 Solid/19 Patterns 3 (Od/Fr) WEIRD X?   
Gilbert et al. (1996) E1–94 / E2–50 (US) E1 = 11 (words)/E2 = 1565 (colours) 20 (Ob/Od) General public   X X
Kemp and Gilbert (1997) 38 (US) 1565 5 × 3 (Od) WEIRD X   
Langner (1997) c. 120 (Germany) 15–20 abstract photos Free response WEIRD   X  
Schifferstein and Tanudjaja (2004) 69 (NL Females) 96 (colours) 14 (Fr) WEIRD X X  
Österbauer, Matthews et al. (2005; Österbauer, Sanabria, et al., 2005) 40 (UK) 10 (hues) 17 (Ob/Od) WEIRD   X X
Demattè et al. (2006) 21 (UK) 10 (hues) 6 (Ob) WEIRD   X X
Zellner, McGarry, Mattern-McClory, and Abreu (2008) E1–4: 63/52/60/68 (US) 11 (colours) 6 (Fr) WEIRD   X  
Spector and Maurer (2012) 78 (Canada) Free verbal response 22 (Ob) WEIRD   X X
Stevenson et al. (2012) 18 (Australia) Pick colour on computer 20 (Ob) WEIRD   X X
Kim (2013) 70 (Korea) 120 (colours) 8 (Fr) WEIRD X X  
Maric and Jacquot (2013) 155 (France) 24 (colours) 16 (Ob) WEIRD X X X
Levitan et al. (2014) 122 (6 cultural groups) 36 (colours) 14 (Ob) Cross-cultural   X X
Schifferstein and Howell (2015) 66 (NL)/80 (US) Women 5 (colour schemes) 5 (Fr) WEIRD   X  
Jacquot et al. (2016) 59(UK)/60(France) 24 (colours) 16 (Ob) Cross-cultural   X X
Nehmé et al. (2016) 155(France)/96(Lebanon)/110(Tw) 24 (colours) 16 (Ob) Cross-cultural   X X
Adams and Doucé (2017) 284 (Belgium) Bright-dim/light-dark 32 (Ob/Fr) WEIRD    X
De Valk et al. (2017) 11(Maniq)/24(Thai)/24(NL) 84 (colours) 15 (Ob) Cross-cultural   X X
Goubet et al. (2018) 186 (France)/337(US) 8 (hues) 8 (Ob) Cross-cultural/development   X X
Kaeppler (2018) 30 (Germany) Free response 10 (Ob) WEIRD   X X
Heatherly et al. (2019) E1–50/E2–52 (US) 4 (hues/wine labels) 5 (Ob) General public   X  
  1. Od odorants, Fr fragrance, Ob objects (typically edible), LI lightness-intensity; inverse relation between colour lightness and perceived odour intensity, CM consistent matching, SM source matching, meaning that the colour-odour link is mediated by specific object associations, WEIRD Western, Educated, Industrialised, Rich, and Democratic