A total of 32 undergraduate subjects smelled pleasant and unpleasant odours, while reading eight passages that touched upon positive or negative subject matter and were either engaged or detached in style, in a fully counterbalanced within-subjects design. After each reading episode, subjects rated passage and odour on fourteen 7-point scales. In accordance with a hedonic congruence hypothesis, odours should affect the reading process when there was a fit between the hedonic tone of the textual properties (subject matter or style) and the odours (pleasant/unpleasant).
Results supported this hypothesis showing that positive subject matter and engaged style combined with pleasant odour to bring the story to life and evoke the most images and feelings [надо же так дивно пудрить мозг!]. Passages with negative subject matter were not readily affected by the hedonic odour context. These findings replicated earlier research involving paintings viewed in a hedonic odour context [тоже бы интересно найти].
Gender differences also revealed that males, compared with females, found episodes read in the context of unpleasant odours to be more involving and personally meaningful, and they could more readily identify with the characters.
Source: The scent of literature, by Gerald Cupchik, University of Toronto, Canada & Krista Phillips, York University, Toronto, Canada, Cognition & Emotion, Volume 19(1), 2005, pp. 101-119.