Plenary Speakers

Anne Churchill, Givaudan, UK


Dr. Anne Churchill is a Research Fellow at the Fragrance Division of Givaudan, based in the Health & Well-being Centre of Excellence in the UK. During her research career she has been responsible for developing sensory methods relevant for measuring perception of fragrance stimuli in all their various forms throughout the consumer products industry. She played a pivotal role in establishing Givaudan’s leading position in providing fragrances with emotional and behavioural benefits supported by both implicit and explicit measures of human response and protected by a portfolio of patents. Her investigation of the multisensory aspects of fragrance perception led to new understanding of the subliminal power of fragrance over perception of other sensory characteristics. After a short spell in Paris as head of technology for Europe she has returned to the UK picking up her sensory science interests and leading research into the Health and Well-being benefits of fragrance.

Talk: Sensory science, fragrance and sustainability: Evolving themes over the last thirty five years.

From the origins of psychophysics and our fundamental understanding of the relationship between stimuli and sensations grew a need to develop skills and methods that enable us to explore how sensory stimuli influence the lives of human beings and the products that they buy, consume and use. Over the years as technical capabilities improved, computing power increased and knowledge and understanding has grown, these have thrown us into a world of experimental possibilities that were not imaginable thirty five years ago. Intertwined with the scientific developments a number of themes have evolved that highlight the relevance of sensory science in addressing different aspects of sustainability.

With reference to examples from the fragrance business I will review some of my experiences over the past thirty five years and discuss how sensory science contributes to aspects of sustainability. Firstly, by considering the sustainability of the discipline itself and ensuring its continuing relevance to business needs. Secondly, by discussing the way that sensory science supports areas of the business actively working to reduce environmental waste, source raw materials responsibly, increase the odour per carbon ratio and eliminate non-bio-degradable products with data about fragrance performance.

I will also discuss areas of research that combine neuroscience and experimental psychology with sensory science. Technical advances in brain scanning techniques such as EEG, and in computing power to accumulate and analyse large amounts of data has made these measurements more accessible to sensory researchers. Alongside other physiological measures, implicit and non-verbal methods there are now a tempting array of approaches that could be used to measure subliminal responses to sensory stimuli. I will point out some of the pit-falls to be navigated and discuss the positive outcome of our research to enable development of fragrances that enhance positive emotions and improve sleep quality and overall well-being.

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