We all have a favorite scent, whether it’s food-related or a place or person. Well, what if smells could have the ability to affect how people behave?
How something or someone smells may influence people’s behavior towards them, including how they trust, according to a study by researchers in the Netherlands and published in the journal Frontiers.
Researchers who were looking to test the idea that smell can influence behavior, set up a study that involved a trust game. The game took place in a room that was filled with the mist of with one of two different aromas. One of the scents was lavender and the other was peppermint.
Lavender is a flowering plant which is part of the mint family and is associated with having soothing scent, meanwhile peppermint is associated with the feelings of alertness and energy.
The study involved 90 participants who were asked to enter the room 90 minutes after the researchers filled the room with the scents using a few drops of essential oils, diffused by a candle.
They found that those who had smelled the lavender were more likely to be trusting than those who has smelled the peppermint or nothing. Lavender has calming properties which could explain why it had the effect that it did, the researchers explained. They also added that the olfactory nerve, which carries the sensory information for the sense of smell, is connected to the region of the brain that controls the way we trust others.