Smell is the oldest of the five senses. It is believed humans can identify as many as 10,000 different smells, ranging from fresh baked bread to barbecued chicken to lavender. Recent studies uncovered that there is a strong correlation between smell and memory, and a part of the human brain contains a “sensory map” that is used to perceive smells. Scent becomes a great medium to tap into human brain and affect human’s behaviour accordingly. It is well known that various aromas have different impact on human emotions and behaviour.
What is it so fascinating and powerful about aromas and their effects? Here are top five things you should know about scents and what they can trigger in human emotions, and behaviour.
1. Mood and Work Performance
Odours influence our moods, how we think and how we act. For example, people who worked in a pleasantly scented environment reported higher self-efficacy, set higher goals and were likely to employ efficient works strategies than those who worked in no-odour conditions. Scenting the offices & workplaces has reported to produce very positive results and overall affected productivity in business. For example, some studies demonstrated that sustained attention tasks were performed with greater accuracy by the participants in the scented rooms. Another study found that fragrance had a dramatic effect on a proofreader’s efficiency.
2. Trust and Honesty
Scent can make people more trustworthy and honest. Experiments have been made to demonstrate a correlation between clean smells (e.g. citrus scents) and virtuous behaviour. Capitalizing on the symbolic association between physical and moral purity, clean and fresh scents not only motivate clean behaviour, but also increase the tendency to trust and honesty. Conversely, bad smells seem to have negative effect. In a series of studies, a disgust-inducing smell led people to make harsher moral judgements.
3. Behaviour and Emotions
Scenting has proved to produce a change in consumers’ behaviour and emotions. Businesses effectively employ scent marketing strategies to generate more sales and increase customer loyalty. One study demonstrated that 84% of people were more likely to buy shoes or linger more in a scented store. People usually tend to shopping and losing track of time in a pleasantly scented environment. In these conditions, their normal behaviour change and they typically exhibit higher impulse in buying behaviors.
4. Smell and Memory
One of the reasons why smell is so intimately linked with memory is that olfactory bulb, the part of the brain that processes smell, interacts with regions of the brain that are responsible for emotional memories. Though odours do affect people’s behaviour and mood, it is not that they work like a drug on us. Instead we work on them through our experiences with them. This is how a concept of ‘smell and memory’ connection is explained. Here is how the process of linking a smell with memory works in olfaction. For example, a novel odour processed in a hospital during a surgical procedure elicits an emotional response, such as anxiety. This particular odour becomes a conditioned stimulus for that hospital experience and acquires the ability to evoke anxiety and discomfort when encountered in the future. This mechanism explains both how odours come to be liked or disliked as well as how they create a strong link between memory and smell.
5. Relaxation and Stress Reduction
It is no secret that some aromas and essential oils of flowers, herbs and trees have a positive impact on human health and emotional well-being. There is growing body of evidence that aromas and essential oils can promote relaxation, recue stress, improve alertness, kill disease-causing microbes, reduce inflammation, relieve pain and depression. For example, lavender is treat insomnia, headaches and migraines. Thyme and rosemary are used to combat exhaustion, aid memory, and improve concentration. Grapefruit, jasmine and lemon are considered to reduce drowsiness and sustain attention.
Scents are invisible but have become quite a focal part of our very existence. They are so powerful to influence human cognition, emotion, and behaviour that it’s simply hard to ignore their effects and opportunities.
At Hi-Rise Services we have developed the most effective and environmentally sensitive odour control and scent delivery systems that help businesses create the ultimate sales experience and set a new standard of customer care through building a stronger emotional association to their brands.
To learn more on what type of air scenting and odour control services we can provide, click the button below to get a FREE 2 week trial and ‘test drive’ our scent marketing services in your business.