Is the workday dragging? You may need more sleep or more stimulating work, but since you probably can't do anything to address these issues on the spot, take a whiff or two of some coffee or chocolate instead. Pop psychology hogwash? Nope. Actually, the human sense of smell [] more powerful than you may realize.

According to researchers from the Wheeling Jesuit University, just smelling chocolate and coffee can perk us up and help us to complete tasks more efficiently.

This report on yet another outstanding aspect of the human sense of smell was given by the WJU researchers at the 2007 Conference of the Association for Chemical Reception Sciences. The research reported revealed the effects that merely smelling chocolate and coffee had on those completing clerical office tasks. However, as you'll see, this can be applied to other jobs as well.

For the study, 30 participants completed a variety typical clerical work tasks, such as typing and tasks that called for solving cognitive problems involving visual memory, verbal memory, reaction time, and impulsivity.

The participants visited the lab three different times. The scent conditions in the lab changed with each visit. A coffee scent or chocolate scent was administered through low flow oxygen into the participants' noses. A control group was given un-scented oxygen.

Upon completion of the clerical tasks, additional assessments were made. For example, the participants’ self-reported moods and feelings of alertness and fatigue were looked at.

The results? Typing accuracy and speed were greatest in those inhaling the coffee scent.

Visual motor speed was increased in those breathing in the chocolate scent. Just what does that mean? The chocolate scent increased the participant's visual motor speeds. This meant they could process visual information more quickly, and consequently complete office tasks faster.

The chocolate scent also increased impulse control. Yes – those inhaling the oxygen scented with chocolate demonstrated better control of their impulses. The benefits? Fewer mistakes, accidents, impulsive and annoying behaviors, etc.

In other words the ability to control oneself and stay focused was increased. Hmm. Maybe they can pass out dark chocolate in the schools instead of Ritalin! Research obviously needs to continue in the part that the human sense of smell plays in our moods, behaviors and abilities.

In the meantime, give it try yourself. There are no dangers, no side effects and no high cost prescriptions. Keep a package of coffee on your desk (I'd recommend your favorite or freshly ground dark roast if you enjoy it).

Then next time you find yourself watching the clock and yawning, try periodically taking a whiff. Or if you need an extra cognitive boost for your Sudoku puzzle or you are just having difficulty concentrating, pull out a box of aromatic dark chocolate. Sign up for our free ebook [] 24 Gee Whiz Facts about Your Sense of Smell to learn more about the human sense of smell and how you can harness this to work for you.

Author's Bio: 

Luke Vorstermans is the founder of The Sense of Smell Lab, a world leader in the development of innovative products that use our sense of smell to influence behavior, trigger memories, manage cravings, enhance moods and improve sexual health. Learn more about enhancing your emotional health at:

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