The human sense of smell is VERY acute.
Scent allows us to recognize thousands of different fragrances.
With each breath – our sense of smell prompts immediate emotional responses to the environment and people around us.
So let me ask.
What does YOUR Scent signal?
Are you even wearing a fragrance?
A recent (2015) research study conducted in the Netherlands suggests that our sense of smell is connected with our perception of other people.
In particular – whether we choose to trust someone.
Yeah – the scent you choose could determine if someone chooses to trust you!
The findings from the research study (link at the end of this article) confirm that interpersonal trust is enhanced by the aroma of lavender – a mood enhancing smell.
How Scent Affects Trust
Lavender is known for its soothing and calming properties.
It aids in relaxation and induces sleep. According to the study conducted in the Netherlands – the calming scent has also been proven to improve the levels of trust in people.
Researchers at the Leiden University conducted an experimental study to determine the effects of scent on people’s willingness to trust others.
Ninety healthy adults were approved for the experiment after being screened for psychiatric disorders and drug use. The participants were split into three groups.
One group was exposed to the calming scent of lavender. A second group was subjected to the stimulating smell of peppermint. The remaining thirty participants were placed in a non-scented room as a neutral control third group.
How Fragrance Affects The Trust Game
Participants were assigned the roles of trustor and trustee. The trustors were given €5 to share with the trustee at their own discretion.
The participants were informed that the money transferred to a trustee would triple and then the trustee would decide how much of the increment would be given back to the trustor.
The amount of money transferred by the trustor was the key indicator of interpersonal trust.
The group that was exposed to lavender gave significantly more to the trustees. The groups exposed to peppermint and the one with no scent shared an average of €3.23 compared to the lavender group’s €3.9 given to the trustees.
According to the findings of this experiment – trust is dependent on situational and environmental factors. It seems the calming scent of lavender affects our mood to be more inclusive and trusting of other people.
By comparison – the scent of peppermint or lack of scent had no effect on the the trust levels of the participants.
Leverage The Trust-Building Fragrance Of Lavender
Of all the five senses – your sense of smell is the strongest.
It has a powerful affect on our mood and plays a significant role in our interactions with other people.
The results from the trust game could find applications in numerous situations.
If you are about to walk into a job interview – the person on the other side of the desk is more likely to view you as a trustworthy person. As a bonus, the calming scent of lavender has a relaxing effect on you.
The smell of lavender may help a vendor to establish trust quickly while negotiating a sale. In a grocery store – the scent of lavender may induce customers to spend more money buying products.
If you have a product that will help people solve a problem but lack the skills required to sell it – using a fragrance that contains lavender will help you gain the initial amount of trust required to make a full-pitched presentation.
In sport – the scent of lavender can be used to improve trust among players and to build team spirit.
How Long Does It Take To Build Trust Using Scent?
This study questions the authenticity of the age-old aphorism – Trust takes a long time to build and just a moment to destroy.
Interpersonal trust is a volatile state easily affected by external factors.
It turns out trust doesn’t take a long time to build. The experiments with aromas proves trust in a complete stranger is enhanced in the presence of a lavender scent.
It is possible the soothing smell of lavender simply lightens people's moods making them more willing to trust others