Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Odors Summon Emotion And Influence Behavior, New Study Says

Date:
April 14, 2003
Source:
Brown University
Summary:
College students frustrated by playing a rigged computer game in a scented room later exhibited that frustration when they inhaled the same smell, according to a new study by a Brown University psychologist.

SARASOTA, Fla. -- College students frustrated by playing a rigged computer game in a scented room later exhibited that frustration when they inhaled the same smell, according to a new study by a Brown University psychologist.

Related Articles


The study provides further evidence for a growing body of research that indicates emotions can become conditioned to odors and subsequently influence behavior, according to Rachel S. Herz, assistant professor of psychology at Brown, who will present her research at the annual meeting of the Association for Chemoreception Sciences at 8 a.m. Sunday, April 13, 2003, in Sarasota, Fla.

Sixty-three female undergraduates at Brown University participated in the two-pronged study, which used novel scents developed in a laboratory so that the students would not have any previous emotional connections to them. Any potential subjects who noted that a scent "reminded" them of another smell did not take part.

In the first portion of the study, half of the participants were asked to play a computer game that, unbeknownst to them, was designed so that they could not win. During that time, the students were exposed to a novel odor. Then they were given a 20-minute break.

Following the break, the students were taken to a different room and given a set of word tests. Participants took the tests in one of three rooms: a room containing the same scent as the room in which they played the computer game; a room with a different, novel scent; or a room without scent.

Participants who performed the word tests in a room with the scent from the computer game room spent significantly less time working on the problems than participants in the other rooms, said Herz. (Researchers used the time spent on the problems, not the test scores, as a measure of frustration because they anticipated correctly that scores would be similar based on the intellectual ability of the students.)

Overall, those participants who took the tests in the room with the computer-game room scent demonstrated less persistence – spending less time on each of the problems they could not solve – than the people who had taken the word tests in the rooms with a different odor or no odor at all.

"Compromised by the emotion of frustration that was induced by the odor, they showed an unwillingness to work on a challenging task," said Herz.

The second portion of the study confirmed the ability to create a connection between an emotion and scent. Instead of a frustrating computer game, the other half of the participants watched a neutral video in the scented room. Those later given word tests in a room with the same scent did not register any difference in performance compared to groups taking the tests in rooms with a different scent or no scent.

Herz led the research with assistance from Corrente Schankler, a student, and Sophia Beland, a staff member, in the Brown University Department of Psychology, with supplies donated by AromaSys Inc. Females were studied because previous research has suggested that there may be stronger effects of emotional conditioning in women.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Brown University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Brown University. "Odors Summon Emotion And Influence Behavior, New Study Says." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 April 2003. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030414082907.htm>.
Brown University. (2003, April 14). Odors Summon Emotion And Influence Behavior, New Study Says. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 27, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030414082907.htm
Brown University. "Odors Summon Emotion And Influence Behavior, New Study Says." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2003/04/030414082907.htm (accessed February 27, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Friday, February 27, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Sleeping Too Much Or Too Little Might Increase Stroke Risk

Newsy (Feb. 26, 2015) People who sleep more than eight hours per night are 45 percent more likely to have a stroke, according to a University of Cambridge study. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Mayor Says District of Columbia to Go Ahead With Pot Legalization

Reuters - News Video Online (Feb. 25, 2015) Washington&apos;s mayor says the District of Columbia will move forward with marijuana legalization, despite pushback from Congress. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Marijuana Nowhere Near As Deadly As Alcohol: Study

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) A new study says marijuana is about 114 times less deadly than alcohol. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Researchers Replace Damaged Hands With Prostheses

Newsy (Feb. 25, 2015) Scientists in Austria have been able to fit patients who&apos;ve lost the use of a hand with bionic prostheses the patients control with their minds. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins