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Scent and Creativity

April 29 2017

Research reports the beneficial effect of sleep on creativity can be enhanced by an incorporating scent. In a recent study, participants congregated at a lab in the evening and watched a 10-minute video about volunteer work. After they watched the movie, they were given the task to task think of innovative ways to encourage people to volunteer more of their time. For some of the participants, a hidden scent diffuser diffused a scent while participants watched the movie. Before going to bed, they were given an envelope containing a second scent diffuser, which they were instructed to open before falling asleep. The remaining participants were exposed to no scent, either while sleeping or awake.

The following morning, everyone was given two minutes to list the creative solutions they had come up with. The raters scored all the ideas on a creativity scale and found the ideas of those who slept with the scent were far more innovative than those who had slept with no odor at all.

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