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Verbal Representation of Fragrances: Dependence on Specific Task


Céline Manetta, UFR de Psychologie, Laboratoire Parisien de Psychologie Sociale EA4386, 2, rue de la Liberté 93526 Saint Denis Cedex 02. E-mail:


Fragrance descriptions are complex and are prone to large inter-individual variability. The main question is whether fragrances can be represented by stable representations, which may be relevant for both theoretical and applied issues. Participants (N = 28) individually carried out a sorting task (grouping 9 perfumes) and a comparison task (on 3 groups of 3 fragrances) and then they were interviewed. The analysis of the verbalization included 3 stages and made it possible to isolate both the main elements of fragrances' representation and the discursive operators connecting them. The results show that the lexicon and the connecting operators vary according to task. Results are discussed in relation to other studies concerning representation from a cognitive and social perspective.