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Why smells need a soundtrack

London - If you’ve ever wondered why fish and chips are more tasty by the sea, scientists now have the answer.

A study has shown that smells are more appealing when accompanied by complementary sounds.

A study has shown that smells are more appealing when accompanied by complementary sounds. Credit: REUTERS

According to the research, peppermint is more palatable alongside the noise of teeth being brushed while the scent of fish is enhanced by waves crashing in the background.

Scientists gave volunteers a range of odours to sniff while listening to a variety of sounds. Smells were judged more pleasant if they were deemed to match the backing track.

People found the aroma of coffee more alluring while they were listening to an advertisement promoting it, while cinnamon and cloves – spices used in mulled wine – became more tantalising when Christmas carols were playing. And fish became far more popular when people listened to the sound of a beach rather than music or the brushing of teeth.

The study, carried out in Germany and the US by the Universities of Dresden and Arkansas and published in the journal Chemical Senses, states: “Certain odours can be matched with specific sounds based on a person’s previous experience.” - Daily Mail

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