We focused on a particular scent — vanilla — that prior olfactory research has tied to reductions in anxiety. In a medical study of patients undergoing a tense procedure for cancer diagnosis, a vanilla scent mixed into humidified air lessened anxiety up to 63% compared to patients who were administered humidified air alone (Redd et al. 2005). The retail domain has noticed vanilla’s beneficial effects too, with stores such as Sony Style diffusing a blend of vanilla and orange notes into the air so as to put shoppers at ease when contemplating complex technology products (Vlahos 2007).
We chose the scent of vanilla because it seems particularly important for stress reduction. Vanilla’s calming effects have been recognized for centuries (Bythrow 2005; Rain 2004)… infants gazed longer and emitted fewer distress vocalizations (showing more approach and less avoidant behavior) toward a vanilla scented toy than an unscented toy (Mennella and Beauchamp 2002).
Source: “STEREOTYPE THREAT IN THE MARKETPLACE: CONCERNS ABOUT BEING STEREOTYPED HEIGHTEN CONSUMER ANXIETY AND LOWER PURCHASE INTENTIONS” from Journal of Consumer Research
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