Schneider, R. (2016). Direct application of specially formulated scent compositions (AromaStick®) prolongs attention and enhances visual scanning speed. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 30, 650-654.
Abstract: 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. In a three-armed, randomized, controlled experiment participants’ cognitive ability to discriminate between similar visual stimuli was tested either with or without the use of an odor inhaler. Concentration, visual scanning speed, and accuracy were assessed to gauge differential effects. Both odor inhalers outperformed the control condition where no odor was used. The effects were large and showed in all parameters. 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.