Posts Tagged ‘How Aromatherapy Could Potentially Promote Generous Behavior’

How Aromatherapy Could Potentially Promote Generous Behavior

Wednesday, October 28th, 2009

AromatherapyA recent article in the Journal Psychological Science states that individuals are more inclined to behave in a generous and charitable way when they are in a room that has been spritzed with a citrus-scented spray. These findings were the result of a recent study covered by the journal.

The research team led by Professor Liljenquist at the Brigham Young University, Utah, recruited 28 participants. Half of the participants were placed in a clean, nicely scented room and the other half were placed in a non-scented room. All of the participants engaged in an anonymous game of trust. The 28 participants were told they would be the “receivers,” dealing with an anonymous group of “senders.” The participants were instructed that they were to invest the money given to them with the senders, and that each sender had been given $4. They were then told that any part of it invested with receivers would be tripled. The job of the receiver, then, was to decide what portion of the dividends to return to the sender.

In reality, there was no sender, and each study participant received $12, making it seem as though the senders had entrusted them with the full $4 they had been given. But would the receivers reciprocate that trust or exploit their unidentified investors? On average, those in the plain-smelling room returned $2.81 to the sender, pocketing the lion’s share of the money. But those bathed in the scent of citrus smelling spray sent back an average of $5.83.

In another experiment, the researchers were trying to see what type of effects citrus smells played in their participants’ charitable behavior. This time 99 participants were assigned to either a citrus-scented room or a neutral-smelling room and given a packet of tasks to complete. Included in the packet was a flyer soliciting volunteers and donations to the charity, Habitat for Humanity. As expected, people in the Windex-sprayed room were more inclined to volunteer and give money than those in the unscented room — 22 percent of those in the clean group said they wanted to donate money, compared with 6 percent of the controls.

Whether or not the results of this study are because of the smell of citrus, cleanliness or because the smell was pleasant or positive, the one conclusive result is that aromatherapy essential oil scents appeal to all of us. One test we can all do at home is to get your husband in the steam shower or bath with a bunch of good aromas circling around him, and then ask him for shopping money!

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