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.
We 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.
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.
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.
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
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.