Sweet smell of success

Mar 23
Using Scents to Boost Memory and Performance
Smells are particularly good at bringing back memories. This is because the parts of the brain where smell is processed and the parts responsible for processing emotion and memory are closely linked.

Other sensory information, such as sight, sound and touch, are processed through the thalamus, like a switchboard, before they get to the memory section, but smells bypass that and go straight there.

This is why a particular smell can trigger instant powerful memories.

Using Scents to Boost Memory

You can use this to your advantage and when you are revising, wear a particular perfume or sniff an essential oil on a tissue.

Then when you come to sit your exam you can wear that perfume or dab the essential oil onto your sleeve and perhaps boost your memory.

The Power of Different Scents

Studies have been done on different smells that seem to affect people in different ways. For example, a study found that pupils working in a room with the smell of rosemary around them performed better in memory tests, and peppermint oil was found to increase alertness.

Whereas ylang ylang, a softer, floral scent, relaxed students and even had a negative effect on test results.

Calming Nerves with Scents

If you hate a smell it’s unlikely to work well for you – choose a scent that you like and that puts you in a positive frame of mind.

Some students even choose different scents for different subjects. 

Benefits of Using Scents to Boost Memory and Performance

This could not only help you to access memories and remember vital exam facts, but it may help calm your nerves.

If you are feeling anxious, it is a good idea to take notice of your surroundings and your senses, to calm and ground yourself rather than focussing on your anxiety.

Smelling a favourite, comforting scent could give you a real positive boost just when you need it. Worth a try!

Find out about our referral program!


Created with