Schneider, R. (2016). Direct application of specially formulated scent compositions (AromaStick®) prolongs attention and enhances visual scanning speed. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30, 650-654. doi.org/10.1002/acp.3237
Background: Recently, a series of experiments demonstrated that direct stimulation of the olfactory system by means of an odor inhaler targets brain areas associated with stress reduction and pain relief. This paper follows up on these findings and investigates whether such effects can also be found for inhalers specially designed to increase attention and concentration.
Objective: Can natural odour inhalers influence the cognitive ability of individuals under stressful and attention-demanding tasks?
Method: 45 individuals (34 women, 11 men) were divided into a three-armed, randomized, double-blind, controlled study using the validated neuropsychological d2-R test of attention.
Results: The Aromastick Focus group showed a +29% improvement in concentration (number of correctly identified targets) vs the control group, a +19% increase in processing speed while making fewer mistakes (5% vs 13% in the control group).
Conclusion: The direct application of specially designed essential oil compositions enhances attention and concentration when used during short-term breaks in a stressful and attention-demanding cognitive task.The effects were large and showed in all parameters.