Monday, October 26, 2009

Scents and sensibility

Nice smells could lead to better behaviour. Researchers from Brigham Young University in the U.S. conducted two experiments to investigate the effects of pleasant smells on people's behaviour. In one experiment participants were given $12 sent to them by an anonymous partner in another room who was trusting them to divide it fairly between them. The participants could keep as much of the money as they wanted. In a room freshly sprayed with lemon-scented Windex the participants gave back an average of $5.33, while in the unsprayed room the participants only gave back an average of $2.81. In another experiment students in scented and unscented rooms were asked about their willingness to either volunteer for, or donate to, U.S. housing charity Habitat for Humanity. Those in the scented room expressed a greater interest in volunteering and 22% said that they would donate compared to only 6% in the unscented one. Previous research has suggested that moral transgressions lead to a desire for physical cleansing.

You can find out more about this research at

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