That coffee is the morning engine of the human being is almost commonplace, and it is true that the intake of caffeine increases the speed of certain cognitive processes. What has never been tried before is that the simple aroma of coffee could even increase such capabilities.
Specifically, the aroma of coffee could increase our competence in mathematics tests (the analytical part of Graduate Management Aptitude Test, or GMAT) according to a research carried out in Stevens Institute of Technology.
The work, directed by the professor of Stevens School of Business, Adriana Madzharov, not only highlights the hidden strength of the aroma and the cognitive impulse that can provide in the analytical tasks, but also the expectation that students perform better in these tasks. Madzharov, with his colleagues at Temple University and Baruch College, has published his findings in the Journal of Environmental Psychology.
In summary, smelling an aroma similar to coffee, which has no caffeine, has an effect similar to that of coffee consumption, or that suggests a placebo effect of coffee aroma. The results suggest that performance expectations can be explained by beliefs that coffee aroma alone makes people more alert and energetic.
Madzharov, whose research focuses on sensory marketing and aesthetics, seeks to explore whether coffee-like flavors can have a similar placebo effect on other types of performance. For the time being, maybe we should buy coffee-smelling air freshener to install it in our workplace.