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24 июля 2018, 15:42

Can’t Concentrate? Light a Coffee-Scented Candle


Stay on target

I can’t stand the smell of coffee. Luckily, I’m not applying to business school.

Research from the Stevens Institute of Technology suggests a mere sniff of java may help people perform better on the computer adaptive Graduate Management Aptitude Test (GMAT)—typically used for admission to a graduate management program.

The idea is that smelling a coffee-like odor ( barf )—which has no caffeine in it—results in similar brain function as actually drinking a hot brew. This, folks, is known as the placebo effect.

“It’s not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting,” study lead Adriana Madzharov, a professor at the Stevens School of Business, said in a statement. “But they also thought they would do better, and we demonstrated that this expectation was at least partly responsible for that improved performance.”

Working with colleagues at Temple University and Baruch College, Madzharov administered a 10-question GMAT algebra test to about 100 undergraduate business students, divided into two groups.

One set completed the exam in the presence of an ambient coffee-like scent ( blech ), while the other (a control group) were quizzed in an unscented room.

Those in the coffee-smelling room scored “significantly” higher.

Have we been so conditioned that even the aroma of caffeine can increase alertness and improve performance?

Apparently so.

In a follow-up survey, 200-plus new participants said they believe they would feel more energetic in the “presence of a coffee scent,” versus that of flowers, or nothing at all.

“Olfaction is one of our most powerful senses,” Madzharov said. “Employers, architects, building developers, retail space managers, and others can use subtle scents to help shape employees’ or occupants’ experience with their environment. It’s an area of great interest and potential.”

Moving forward, Madzharov is exploring coffee’s placebo effect on other types of performance, like verbal reasoning.

The full study was published recently in the Journal of Environmental Psychology .

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Source: https://www.geek.com/news/cant-concentrate-light-a-coffee-scented-candle-1746454/?source=science