Can the good smell make you more productive? 

“The right scent can stimulate your brain.” In any case, this is what ensures Yaniv Mama, director of the Israeli company Moodify, in a BBC article. His company has developed a technology to activate receptors in the olfactory bulb, the part of the brain that deals with smell.

Today, Moodify sells its scents with this argument: they could increase customer performance, well-being and safety. “Turns out the smell has its own spectrum. If you distribute the odor molecules evenly over this same spectrum, you can control bad odors without getting an unpleasant mix of unwanted odors covered in cheap perfume”, explains Yaniv Mama. For example, the company offers a scent contained in a pendant to be hung above the cat’s litter box, in order to delight the noses of homes welcoming felines.

Moodify was developed using research conducted over a decade by the Weizmann Institute of Science. The latter wanted to reproduce the smells of some of our daily emotions, such as fear.

Admittedly, this feeling does not have a concrete smell, but the researchers noticed that when jumping into the void, parachutists gave off, for example, a smell, associated, therefore, with this feeling. And from the olfactory receptors capable of intercepting the fine volatile molecules that appear during stressful situations, the researchers succeeded in recreating this smell. Why do that? Because according to them, the diffusion of a scent of fear could contribute to making individuals more vigilant.

Feel better for work better

More and more of us are working from home. It is therefore not surprising that we pay more attention to the smell of our homes than before. In the United Kingdom, the director of the brand The White Company thus notes a very clear increase in sales of scented candles, directly linked to the extent of the practice of teleworking.

It’s not just about looking for a smell that we find pleasant. Mark Moss, head of the department of psychology at Northumbria University, England, highlights the importance of olfactory receptors in the brain: “The olfactory bulb projects more into our brain than vision or hearing.”

In particular, the researcher has carefully studied the effects of essential oils on our performance. According to him, certain smells maximize our brain performance. The palm goes to the aroma of rosemary, which significantly improves memory. Sage and peppermint are useful for cognition. In contrast, lavender impairs memory and reaction time.

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