Which smells make people think about summer, and which evoke thoughts of the holidays? A hundred people were locked in a science museum and asked to smell a dozen different odors in order to answer this vital question.
The subjects were first asked, without being given anything to smell, which odors they thought were most related to summer and which were most related to Christmas. (I wasn't aware summer and Christmas were opposites, but I guess I'm not the scientist here.) After that, half the subjects were given odors and asked to rate how summer-y they were, and the other half were asked to rate the Christmas-ness of the same odors. Here's what they found:
Subjects reported that rose odor was more related to summertime, whereas orange, cinnamon, and cloves were more associated with Christmas season with cinnamon being most intimately connected to this time of the year. Moreover, subjects showed significantly higher familiarity and pleasantness ratings when they smelled cinnamon during the Christmas season than during summertime. Taken together, this study demonstrated that attributes of some odors change throughout the year.
So, let this be a lesson: if you're going to smell cinnamon, do it at Christmastime. Otherwise it's just kind of a waste of a good odor.
[via NCBI ROFL]