Fragrant Hues

Cherry wafts upon the air –
a crimson mist unfurls,
greys transformed
with ruddy swirls
of reds
and browns
and smells.
Senses collude
to shift the views,
conjured from memories
by fragrances unseen.
The lavender exhales its breath
of lilac-purple prose,
transfusing monochrome
with violet palate as
illusions bloom.
Realities rearrange,
washing over us
with sights
and notes
and dreams.
As scented mists
enshroud your eyes
with saturated scents,
discover worlds
behind the scenes
of what you once
could see.

This poem is inspired by recent research, which has found that our sense of smell changes the colours we see.

People’s senses are intricately interconnected, playing a vital role in helping them interpret and understand their environment. When they encounter a particular scent, it’s often accompanied by a visual stimulus, such as seeing the source of the fragrance. These combined experiences of smell and sight work in tandem to shape individuals’ perceptions and feelings about the world around them. This blending of senses is so profound that it can sometimes modify or enhance how a person perceives a specific stimulus, creating a richer, more immersive experience.

In this study, researchers investigated the intriguing relationship between smell and colour perception. Participants were asked to adjust a colour on a screen to what they perceived as a neutral grey while being exposed to various scents. The findings revealed that certain odours influenced participants to perceive the grey with a tint of warmer colours, such as red or brown. For instance, when exposed to the scent of cherry, many adjusted the colour towards a reddish-brown. This study underscores the fascinating ways in which the presence of certain odours can subtly shift colour perceptions.

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