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 November 26, 2014 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 November 26, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Mind & Brain News

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Are Female Bosses More Likely To Be Depressed?

Newsy (Nov. 24, 2014) — A new study links greater authority with increased depressive symptoms among women in the workplace. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Winter Can Cause Depression — Here's How To Combat It

Newsy (Nov. 23, 2014) — Millions of American suffer from seasonal depression every year. It can lead to adverse health effects, but there are ways to ease symptoms. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Milestone Birthdays Can Bring Existential Crisis, Study Says

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) — Researchers find that as people approach new decades in their lives they make bigger life decisions. 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