Study: Merely sniffing coffee makes you more alert

We need coffee to live, yes, but one study believes that we don’t actually need to drink it to reap the benefits.



Coffee, the ambrosia of the gods, the band-aid keeping my life together. While there are nonsense fears that it is a resource that will one day run out (which, I’ll be dead by then, so, meh), it seems that future generations will not miss out, as it seems that the whole taste part of it is superfluous.

According to the dorks from the extremely-grim sounding Stevens School of Business in New Jersey, your brain is immediately stimulated by just the smell of coffee, waking it up in the same way as your usual morning bucket of.

To prove it, they shepherded 114 people with nothing better to do into a dark room, forcing 50% of them to smell some coffee. The other half were not allowed to. So, they spent a mortal day, one that they won’t be getting back, standing in a room watching other people smell coffee, but not drink it. Ok, Science.

Soon thereafter, the subjects were forced to complete a surprise quiz. Those who were allowed to inhale the bean ended up with “significantly higher” scores.

The researchers think some sort of placebo effect might be afoot, where an expected increase in performance ends up leading to an actual increase.

In the words of lead researcher Adriana Madzharov: “It’s not just that the coffee-like scent helped people perform better on analytical tasks, which was already interesting…but they also thought they would do better, and we demonstrated that this expectation was at least partly responsible for their improved performance.”

So, yes, it’s a small study, but it seems even the smell triggers alertness in the brain. Consider it confirmed, but that’s no reason why you kids should be carrying around ziplock bags of Nespresso when you feel you need a ‘lift’. We tried that already, it was called the 1980s.

It didn’t work.


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