The endearing smell of freshly baked bread, homely and delicious, not only makes our salivary glands work overtime, but is also capable of making us much nicer persons.
In our daily lives we come across different smells, among which the aromatic fragrances work wonders by awakening or rejuvenating our sense and sensibilities. Certain fragrances even connect us to our subconscious and take us back in time. All these traits have been put to good use from ancient times for therapeutic purposes. Aromatherapy, a holistic therapeutic method, makes use of the fragrances of flowers and medicinal herbs to treat various conditions, including stress.
AdvertisementWe enjoy the aroma of baking wafting out of a bakery; many among us even feel our spirits lifting. So what is it about baking that is uplifting?
In a research conducted by scientists at the University of Southern Brittany, in France, it was found that there were increased chances of shoppers alerting a random passerby about a dropped belonging if they were also passing a bakery at that time.
Earlier studies have revealed that smells have the ability to generate a positive mood, which in turn can lead to a greater degree of altruism. The present study has, additionally helped to establish a link between pleasing aromas and good deeds.
The research was carried out by making eight volunteers to stand outside a bakery or a boutique for clothes. These volunteers surreptitiously dropped a glove, a tissue packet or a handkerchief while they were within a few feet in front of a shopper. The whole episode was observed by two researchers from about 60ft away. These experiments were carried out over 400 times.
It was discovered that when the volunteers dropped an item outside the bakery, approximately 77% of passersby, who were total strangers, stopped by to help them recover the lost object, while outside the clothing store only 52% of strangers helped.
The findings revealed that altruism in general and spontaneous help, in particular, is promoted in an ambience with pleasant food aromas. Also, it can be safely assumed that other pleasant smells too are capable of promoting goodwill and benevolence all around !
The results of the study have been published in the Journal of Social Psychology.