When someone asks me what flavor slushie I want, I don’t say “cherry,” I say “red.” That flavor is called “red.” “Blue” is another flavor a slushie might have. Similarly, a cherry smell—especially the chemically cherry smell of a red slushie—is a red smell.
That one’s easy, since cherries are red. It doesn’t take a wild leap to make that association. But what color is the smell of, say, soap?
A new study published in PLOS One finds that some people say white, some say yellow, some say blue. A group of international researchers had people from different cultures smell 14 scents and choose from 36 colors the one that they associated most with the odor.