coffee-beans

WORK FROM A CAFE

The subtle scent of coffee tricks your brain into performing better.

Every athlete knows that education is a crucial part of performance. Sport and exercise research, insight from top trainers, science, and technology help you to better understand your body so you can craft a healthier lifestyle, workouts, and recovery plan.

In our daily news series, experts address some of the latest fitness research, nutrition, style, and health stories.


THE GIST
In a recent study, people were put in either an odorless room or one with an ambient coffee-like scent while answering algebra questions. Researchers asked them how well they expected to do before they completed the test and graded their performance afterward. 

They found that the people in the coffee-scented environment had higher expectations for themselves and ultimately performed better than the people in the odor-free room.
EXPERT INSIGHT
The placebo effect was probably at play here, since people associate coffee with caffeine and caffeine with energy and focus, says study author Adriana Madzharov, Ph.D., assistant professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology in Hoboken, New Jersey. The smell itself can trick the brain into thinking it’s about to get a hit of the stimulant, kicking it into high gear.

While drinking a cup of coffee can keep you sharp for several hours, the effects of taking a whiff are short-lived, she says. Sniffing a jar of coffee beans, for example, might have an immediate, but fleeting, effect. 
THE BOTTOM LINE
In the study, the smell of coffee was continuously pumped into the room where the participants took the test. Even if you don’t order a latte, working in a cafe could give you a similar boost.