Some people think they make decisions for conscious reasons using their rational faculties. They are so funny. Others treat their emotions as conduits to a supernatural realm of truth and enlightenment. If they are really tapped into the supernatural then the supernatural realm is pretty overrated. But people are led around by their noses without even knowing it.
People are unconsciously fairer and more generous when they are in clean-smelling environments, according to a soon-to-be published study led by a Brigham Young University professor.
The research found a dramatic improvement in ethical behavior with just a few spritzes of citrus-scented Windex.
Katie Liljenquist, assistant professor of organizational leadership at BYU’s Marriott School of Management, is the lead author on the piece in a forthcoming issue of Psychological Science. Co-authors are Chen-Bo Zhong of the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management and Adam Galinsky of the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.
Want to bring out the worst in people? Put them in smelly rooms.
The first experiment evaluated fairness. As a test of whether clean scents would enhance reciprocity, participants played a classic “trust game.” Subjects received $12 of real money (allegedly sent by an anonymous partner in another room). They had to decide how much of it to either keep or return to their partners who had trusted them to divide it fairly. Subjects in clean-scented rooms were less likely to exploit the trust of their partners, returning a significantly higher share of the money.
· The average amount of cash given back by the people in the “normal” room was $2.81. But the people in the clean-scented room gave back an average of $5.33.
Clean rooms also increased willingness to volunteer and donate to charity.
That's just the sense of smell. We have other senses. What does room color do to us? Which color makes us most unfair? Red? Yellow? Is it the same color that makes us most cynical or most haughty? And what does the feeling of slime on one's hands do to one's disposition? Probably something similar to nasty smells is my guess.
Then we get into sound. Does Mozart make us fairer? Maybe Bach's Brandenburg Concertos do. What about Wagner's Ride of the Valkyries?
|Share |||Randall Parker, 2009 October 26 10:26 PM Brain Free Will|