It is a somewhat strange thought, but a sample of fear sweat on your desk could improve your professional performance. The stimulating effect was recently discovered in research at the Rice University in Houston, USA. For this occasion, researchers made an army of volunteers watch a neutral documentary and a horror movie. During watching, the volunteers held a dot of cotton under their arm to collect some sweat. Next, other test persons got one of those dots of cotton fixed under their nose during a test with word games on a computer. The results? The group with sweat from the horror viewers performed 6 percent better that the group with the “neutral” sweat. Asked about the specifics of the scent they smelled, both groups commented identical. Both groups found the smell as intense and disgusting, be it “fear” or “neutral” sweat. The fact that sweat of fear makes us extra attentive, can be explained evolutionary: it is in ones advantage to be sharp and alert when danger is threatening.
Can we isolate the chemical that improves performance and make it available to meetings for use in scent machines? Today you can buy small machines to spread the scent of apples, fresh cut grass, grapefruit chocolate, etc.. Would it be ethical to use the chemical of fear, to improve concentration?
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Rice University in Houston, USA
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