Can the Scent of Coffee Boost Your Math Skills?

coffee scent

A new study suggests coffee scent has its perks


A new research study seems to suggest the smell of coffee helps to increase math abilities.


Are you a coffee lover? Do you dig the smell of your favorite brew being made early in the morning? Looking for some positive news on the benefits of java?

If the answer is yes, listen up. A new line of research appearing in the Journal of Environmental Psychology offers some interesting news!

Investigators at Stevens Institute of Technology have found that picking up on the scent of Joe may boost a person’s math skills.

The study, led by Stevens School of Business professor Adriana Madzharov found that the scent of coffee alone may help people perform better on the analytical portion of the Graduate Management Aptitude Test [GMAT], a computer adaptive test that many business schools require for admission.

Madzharov and her associates gave a 10-question GMAT algebra test to approximately 100 undergraduate business students. They were divided into two groups.

One group took the test in the presence of a coffee-like scent. The other group (control) took the same test but free of any scent.

Well by golly, they discovered that the “coffee scent” group scored significantly higher on the test.

Curious about the results, Madzharov wanted to know if an expectation of a coffee scent somehow positively influence alertness and performance?

That when she decided to survey 200 people and query them about beliefs on various scents and perceptions on human performance. According to the results, most participants shared they would feel more alert and energetic in the presence of a coffee scent, versus a flower scent or no scent.

But there is more:

Most of the participants also felt that exposure to coffee scent would boost their performance on mental tasks. So, the bottom line is that folks seem to believe that smelling java will help them to feel more energetic and alert.

More: Does coffee help men in the bedroom?

Commenting on the study, Madzharov said: “Olfaction is one of our most powerful senses. Employers, architects, building developers, retail space managers and others, can use subtle scents to help shape employees’ or occupants’ experience with their environment. It’s an area of great interest and potential.”

There you have it. If you are a coffee lover, you’ve got one more reason to keep roasting your favorite beans. As with most things in life, the trick is moderation.

What do you think? Can the smell of java help you do better with math?

About John D. Moore 391 Articles
Dr. John Moore is a licensed counselor and Editor-in-Chief of Guy Counseling. A journalist and blogger, he writes about a variety of topics related to wellness. His interests include technology, outdoor activities, science, and men's health. Check out his show --> The Men's Self Help Podcast