Coffee Scent Boosts Brain Power, Study Finds

At this point, it’s well-known that coffee is good for our health. Drinking a cuppa can help reduce the risk of illnesses such as diabetes, heart diseases and Alzheimer’s as well as protecting against memory loss and depression. But even if you can’t consume it, the smell of coffee can still help boost your brain power, according to a newly published study.

A research published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology has found that the scent of coffee improves brain performance. Coffee-scented environments, the report said, give placebo effects that increase performance expectations and boost people’s performance on analytical reasoning.

“It’s not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting, but they also thought they would do better,” said study co-author Adriana Madzharov of the Stevens Institute of Technology, US. “We demonstrated that this expectation was at least partly responsible for their improved performance.”

The study was conducted on 200 undergraduate students. Participants who took an algebra test in the coffee-scented room scored significantly higher than those in the unscented room. A follow-up survey, which quizzed participants on the perceived effects of scents on human performance, found that most participants believed coffee scent would improve their performance on mental tasks.

“Olfaction is one of our most powerful senses,” said Madzharov. “Employers, architects, building developers, retail space managers and others, can use subtle scents to help shape employees’ or occupants’ experience with their environment. It’s an area of great interest and potential.”