The smell of the morning brew is like a drug that awakens the senses, but that is not the only magic the coffee aroma can do our body. The coffee scent can somehow make us genius like Jimmy Neutron where it awakens our brains and may now help people perform better on the analytical portion of their respective areas.
A recent study from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey found that people exposed to this scent perform better at math on the Graduate Management Aptitude Test, or GMAT, an aptitude test required by many business schools, according to the study published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
The team of the researchers administered a 10-question GMAT algebra test in a computer lab to about 100 undergraduate business students, divided into two groups. One group took the test in the presence of an ambient coffee-like scent, while a control group took the same test – but in an unscented room. They found that the group in the coffee-smelling room scored significantly higher on the test.
“It’s not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting,” an author of the study, Adriana Madzharov, said in a statement. “But they also thought they would do better, and we demonstrated that this expectation was at least partly responsible for their improved performance.”
The team follows up with another survey having more than 200 new participants, quizzing them on beliefs about various scents and their perceived effects on human performance.
The result turns out the participants believed they would feel more alert and energetic in the presence of a coffee scent, and that exposure to coffee scent would increase their performance on analytical reasoning. This means that even smelling a coffee-like scent, which has no caffeine in it, produces a similar effect to that of drinking coffee, suggesting that a placebo effect can come from just the scent of the hot java.