Smell & Social Interactions (Master Thesis) 🥇

Awarded 1,0 - Excellent (best grade) for Master Thesis

Social interactions are multisensory experiences, but how technology-mediated smell can support social interactions needs deeper investigation. To explore its effect on collaboration, we asked pairs of users to work together on a writing task while wearing Abhushan, an interactive jewellery we designed to emit scent in a controlled fashion. In a within-subjects experiment, eleven pairs of participants were asked to collaboratively write a story about a standardized visual stimulus while exposed to Scent and No-Scent conditions. We analyzed session video recordings and resulting written stories using a combination of methods from HCI, psychology, sociology, and human communication research. Our results suggest that people tend to be convinced that smell has no impact on them, even though we observed differences in both communication and created stories in the Scent condition. We discuss possible implications of our findings and the potential of technology-mediated scent for creative and other collaborative activities.