Smell as an interface: how science fields far from financial services come to fore today

It has been said long ago, that the competition field for FS would shift to context — learning facts about the human, not about his finance is key

Daniel Gusev
Jul 16, 2017 · 3 min read

Another inspiring article from Aeon manifests a long-time known scientific fact, that could now impact how marketing is done in the real world. Tracked by minuscule sensors embedded in carried personal devices, integrated into circuits of near every appliance one communicate today, a multitude of factors influencing human choices can be picked up — thus making the battle to conquer this contextual finance game interesting

First, from the article:

Information encoding in other sensory modalities, such as vision or hearing, undergoes filtering in an area of the brain called the thalamus. This so-called ‘thalamic gating’ selects which sensory information will be sent in parallel to the amygdala and cerebral cortex, with processing in the cortex ultimately resulting in conscious perception. The majority of olfactory information, however, does not pass through the thalamus on its way to the amygdala but rather travels directly to it. This means that, unlike the other senses, olfactory information arriving in the amygdala might not have been sent by the thalamus for simultaneous conscious processing. While other mechanisms of smell ‘gating’ have been proposed, this direct route into the limbic system raises a tempting question: do odours subconsciously affect one’s emotional state? Could smell affect us more quietly, but more pervasively than Proust originally thought?

Aeon — “Scents and sensibility”

The desire to better shape financial services is an important one: to craft them not as they are, by the merits of (just) APR and tech, but better shape them around the end desires and goals of those applying them (hence, a growing belief that it would be the retail world developing the next wave of #fintech innovations).

As the attention span is more and more distributed alongside a multitude of interfaces, the pull power of traditional agents should be designed around the interaction with many and not attention for just one interface.

Several examples follow:

Olafactory: retailers have already mastered the odour of recently-baked bread to stimulate spending (and the whole concept of installing bakeries in malls is around that). The advent of microscopic capsuls and generated odours embedded in devices create a new paradigm for marketing.

Image: The imbalance is still here: banks have formely communicated their products in writing, but rich interfaces captivate us with images — pictures and words route differently at the brain level, so alluding to emotions should not follow the text route — and we crave for emotions since the majority of our experience on mobile are around social and emotionally-enticing apps

Body elements: tracking medical data, fat level, cholesterol, physical activity is also important. Take, for example a recently published study recommending grapefruit juice to battle high cholesterol for low-activity mice — and as the ability to embedd nudging points into menial tasks would grow thanks to better context these points are communicated, the better may it be for us, users.

This post continues a set of behavioral and neuro-biological science, as well as facts on gamification and nudging that underpinns our Berlin-based analytics platform to design positive spending paths for retail spending — FF, that has recently participated in Madrid’s Moneyconf

Learn more about FF: fitness meets finance or visit

Financial Fitness

Fitness Meets Finance for a Healthy Wellbeing

Daniel Gusev

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10+ years, 2 labs, 1 bank, 2 startups, 1 exit. Digital banker, wishful tinkerer, amateur father. Fintech VC @gauss_vc and co-founder of @finfitapp.

Financial Fitness

Fitness Meets Finance for a Healthy Wellbeing