The Scent of Coffee Appears to Boost Performance in Math


There are those of us who can't go a day without coffee. Honestly, my Kurieg is set to make a cup for me every morning at a specific time. Talk about dedication to the caffeine...or addiction. Our marriage to the coffee pot is wrapped in the benefits of energy. 

In a new study led by Stevens School of Business professor Adriana Madzharov, it appears the very scent of coffee can be just as rewarding as drinking it. 

“It's not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting," says Madzharov. "But they also thought they would do better, and we demonstrated that this expectation was at least partly responsible for their improved performance.” In short, smelling a coffee-like scent, which has no caffeine in it, has an effect similar to that of drinking coffee, suggesting a placebo effect of coffee scent.

This doesn't suggest there's scientific proof you can just smell you cup of tall-dark-and-yummy and start pumping out Eisenstein equations.  But just thinking the coffee scent is capable is enough to give you a boost. 


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