Influencing Behavior Thru Smell?

We’re always taught as kids to think about all the senses, but that seems to go out the window at an early age. We start focusing on print or TV or some limited set of modes.

I’ve started to see more things lately around smell. I saw a simple one yesterday that I thought I would highlight.

“What we wondered was whether you could regulate ethical behavior through cleanliness.  We found that you could.”  [Katie Liljenquist, asst professor at Brigham Young University]

In an experiment, people who sat is a room with citrus-scented Windex were more likely to act fairly and charitably than those in an unscented room.  In an experiment from last year, the researchers showed that people were more judmental and critical about certain moral issues when exposed to fart-scented spray.  [I’m not sure how people come up with these studies.]

Anyways, I doubt we’re going to start using scratch-n-sniff stickers or seeing TVs with scent dispensers, but I think it’s an interesting question to think about when trying to influence health behavior.  How should a doctor’s office smell?  Would your workplace be healthier if it smelled different?  Would I choose different foods at the cafeteria if it had a different scent?

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