Captivology: The Science of Getting Your Audience’s Attention


Sights, smells and colors all contribute to capturing peoples attention.

I recently listened to a great Podcast on How to Get Your Audience’s Attention by Ben Parr,  an award-winning journalist, author, entrepreneur and investor.  He cites how you can use psychological and neurological triggers to capture people’s attention because they are automatically attracted to certain sensory inputs: colors, sights smells, etc.

  • For example, researchers in the retail industry demonstrated that people spend more money when they are in an environment with “warm scents” such as vanilla or cinnamon (as opposed to cool scents” such as peppermint). Hint: Try it next to your silent auction items.
  • Orange and Red have high contrasts to their surroundings and automatically catch your eye. The color orange has a high correlation with competence.
  • Orange and Yellow has a high correlation with excitement, but low for confidence.
  • White, Pink, Yellow mean sincerity.

When it comes to decor and atmosphere, people also have an automatic memory association with smell, as long as it’s not overpowering. The most sophisticated event organizers, such as casinos, start with a scent in a room. You can trigger childhood memories with the aroma of chocolate chip cookies.

So red, black and yellow aren’t your colors of choice? That’s ok.  This is an analysis of what is effective, not what is pretty.  You needn’t swath your entire room in red, only a few touches here and there may be needed to have the desired effect.



The first three lucky readers who email our editor, Mary Beth Staron at, receive a free copy of “Captivology”. Thanks for reading our newsletter!







Learn more by checking out the podcast at

Or buy his book at  Ben Parr: Captivology _ The Science of Capturing People’s Attention.





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