The scent of a rose is one loved by many and according to researchers at the University of Freiburg – Medical Center, the Faculty of Biology at the University of Freiburg, and the Freiburg Institute for Frontier Areas of Psychology and Mental Health (IGPP) have shown that the smell of these beautiful flowers is beneficial for learning. For the study, students in two classes learned English vocabulary with and without scent sticks during the learning period and at night. The results? The students who had been involved in the experiment remembered the vocabulary much better with the scent. The participants from the test group were asked to place rose-scented incense sticks on their desks at home while learning English vocabulary and on the bedside table at night. In another experiment, they also placed the incense sticks on the table next to them during a vocabulary test at school during a test.
Researchers think that a part of the brain, which is called the hippocampus, is like the scratch-pad of memory, where we put new things that have been learned or experienced until they can be filed for long-term storage. When people sleep, these memories are “reactivated” and transferred to the cortex. Odors are known to have a potent effect on the hippocampus.
All in all, the results of this study add to the evidence that pairing learning and sleep with an aroma (in this case – a scent of a rose) can boost memory performance.