Friday, February 18, 2005
7 News Features: Smell of Success
We all know certain scents can trigger our memory. Like when you smell popcorn - you think movies. But could there be scents that help improve our performance at work, at school, and on the playing field? Here's Louis Aguirre with the answer in tonight's special assignment report.
WSVN -- People are always trying to figure out ways to get ahead. But who knew this whole time, the answer was right in front of them.
Whether you're studying for a test or practicing for a game, everybody's looking for an advantage in life. But what if the secret to success was actually the smell of success.
Dr. Alan Hirsch from Smell and Taste Foundation: "With aromas we can do all sorts of things. both increase learning ability and even increase success."
Dr. Alan Hirsch believes the nose knows. He has sniffed out thousands ofdifferent aromas in his Chicago laboratory. What the doc found was scents make a lot of sense.
Dr. Hirsch: "Odors will impact how successful we are."
For example, the smell of green apple reduces anxiety. A whiff of lemon makes us more awake. And a sniff of vanilla makes us happier.
Dr. Hirsch: "The quickest way to change someone's mood state or behavior is with smell."
With that in mind, we decided to try some experimenting of our own.
We wanted to see if three of doctor birch's favorite fragrances could really make a difference.
First up - an aroma for all athletes. Doc claims peppermint is perfect for that extra boost.
So we asked marathon runner David Briz to run one lap around the track at full speed without knowing what our experiment was about.
David's time one minute 24 seconds. Then we gave David ten minutes to rest, asked him to eat a peppermint, and take a whiff of peppermint oil.
David's time for the second lap - smells like a winner -- one minute 20 seconds. Four seconds better than his first lap.
David Briz: "I feel much better than the first lap, especially the starting point and ending point, the aroma sticks with you the whole time."
Onto experiment number two is something for all students. Can a bouquet boost your brain power?
We gave Barry University student Cindi Cope 15 minutes to answer 15 sat questions. Again, she had no idea what our experiment was about.
So how did she do? - Ten right, five wrong.
But watch what happens when our producer unleashes the floral fragrance. Cindi gets another fifteen minutes to answer fifteen different questions.
This time, flower power works -- twelve right, three wrong. That's two better than she did on the first test.
Cindi Cope: "When you get a tough question, you take a moment to breathe, you get something different than plain air."
And finally, our third experiment. We all know driving in South Florida can be dangerous, but can a license for lavender relax you.
We asked telephone salesmanAdrian Thomas to test drive the track at Miami-Dade College.
Adrian's first go round - he knocked over ten cones.
Adrian Thomas: "It's a lot harder than it looks."
But what happens when we coat the car with lavender. It revs up Adrian's reaction time.
He only knocks over two cones.
Adrian Thomas: "I was a lot more relaxed when i was out there. It's surprising that an aroma would effect you to that extent."
Surprising...Maybe so. But when it comes our experiments -- that's three for three and that's scent-sational.
Now, not all scents have a positive impact. Keep in mind next time you're studying for a test, doctor Hirsch found the smell of cheddar cheese inhibits learning.
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