Clean scents promote healthy learning
(Family Features) Did you know the average human can recognize 10,000 scents? Have you ever considered how directly your sense of smell is connected to cueing your emotions? It’s for this reason, technically coined “associative learning,” that the fragrances around us can impact our mood and performance.
Smell is different from other senses because it is connected to the olfactory cortex, the part of the brain responsible for emotions and memory. In patients with dementia, schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s, medical experts can measure their sense of smell as one of the earliest indicators of change. As humans we tend to think of smell as one of our weaker senses, but the fact is it is far more connected to our performance than we might imagine.
A study shows that children who perform better at school almost always identify their homes with scents associated with clean. What is a “clean home” smell? That depends on what era you grew up in. During the 50s most people associated a clean home with a strong bleach scent. In the decades since then there has been a plethora of citrus and floral scented room freshening cleaners on the market. Generally speaking, when many people think of a clean smell, they think of Pine-Sol cleaner.
The study of nearly 5,000 high school students, conducted by Dr. Alan Hirsch and the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foun-dation, found top performing students (those with grade averages of A and B) overwhelmingly 84 percent used words like “lemony, minty or clean” to describe the smell of their childhood homes. More than one-third (34 percent) of lower performing students (average of C or below) associated negative smells urine, fecal matter or mold with their homes.
For parents who want their children to have lasting, warm memories of home, consider the aromas that greet your children after a long day of school, sports or after-school activities. The mood you set in your home now is creating a lifetime of positive associations. Getting that freshly-baked pumpkin bread in the oven can seem like much less of a sacrifice of time from this viewpoint. When seen from this larger perspective, activities like baking, cleaning and even tending the garden become generous acts that do much more for the family than perhaps we’ve considered in recent years. The aroma of a well-cared for home has much to do with feelings of success, harmony and happiness.
Courtesy of Family Features