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EMAC 2022 Annual

Olfactory priming in consumer research: Bibliometric literature review

Published: May 24, 2022


Marianna Halinen, University of Eastern Finland; Nino Ruusunen, University of Eastern Finland; Heli Hallikainen, University of Eastern Finland; Tommi Laukkanen, University of Eastern Finland


Our literature review shows a rising trend in olfactory priming studies from 2010 onwards and finds different conceptual structures within olfactory priming research field. Increasing acceptance of scents in marketing is partly due to their ease of use with other senses. Olfaction is the only sense that has virtually a direct path to emotional and memory-related systems and can affect consumers in unconscious ways. This study systematizes the knowledge generated by 51 olfactory studies in Web of Science database. It makes use of bibliometric analysis, emphasizing the importance of using quantitative methods when conducting a literature review. We find that humans associate odors in different contexts, such as, shopping, cleanliness, and mating. Moreover, scent priming can even enhance word processing. Behaviorally, scent priming can influence on consumers’ purchase behavior, food choices, cleaning behavior and alcohol consumption.