Effortless learning during sleep is the dream of many people. At last, science show that scents help people learn, whether awake or asleep.
Researchers at the University of Freiburg-Medical Center, the Freiburg Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health, and the Faculty of Biology at the University of Freiburg have conducted an extensive sleep laboratory study in which pupils in two school classes learned English vocabulary, with and without scent sticks during the learning period, and also at night.
The study participants placed rose-scented incense sticks on their desks at home while studying and on the bedside table next to the bed at night. In another experiment, they also placed the incense sticks on the table next to them during an English vocabulary test at school. The results were compared with test results in which no incense sticks were used during one or more phases.
The students remembered the vocabulary much better with a scent. The researchers showed that this effect can be achieved easily outside the lab. The results also suggest that the additional use of the incense sticks during the vocabulary test promotes memory.
The study was published in the Nature Group's Open Access journal Scientific Reports on Jan. 27.
"The students showed a significant increase in learning success by about 30 percent if the incense sticks were used during both the learning and sleeping phases," said study leader Jürgen Kornmeier, head of the Perception and Cognition Research Group at the Freiburg-based IGPP and scientist at the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University of Freiburg-Medical Center in Germany. "We showed that the supportive effect of fragrances works very reliably in everyday life and can be used in a targeted way."
Source: University of Freiburg: uni-freiburg.de