The Scent of Collaboration: Exploring the Effect of Smell on Social Interactions

Social interactions are multisensory experiences. However, it is not well understood how technology-mediated smell can support social interactions, especially in collaborative tasks.
To explore its effect on collaboration, we asked eleven pairs of users to work together on a writing task while wearing an interactive jewelry designed to emit scent in a controlled fashion. In a within-subjects experiment, participants were asked to collaboratively write a story about a standardized visual stimulus while exposed to with scent and without scent conditions. We analyzed video recordings and written stories using a combination of methods from HCI, psychology, sociology, and human communication research. We observed differences in both participants' communication and creation of insightful stories in the \textsc{with scent} condition. Furthermore, scent helped participants recover from communication breakdown even though they were unaware of it.
We discuss the possible implications of our findings and the potential of technology-mediated scent for collaborative activities.

ACM Digital Libary Link


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