Hack your brain to boost learning

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

Open the floodgates of learning with sight and scent.

We all know what it’s like to work in a noisy and smelly environment. It’s hard trying to complete classwork when a nearby conversation snags your attention and the stench of body heat in a stuffy room invades your nostrils. Well, according to a new study from the College of Business at Illinois, some scents and sounds might actually boost memory!

As people performed a creative task, researchers played a mix of sounds at different volumes, ranging from construction-site drilling to coffee shop chatter. While loud volumes were distracting, they found that playing music at medium volume helped people tap into their artistic juices. Why is that? According to psychologist Dr. Nick Perham, at Cardiff Metropolitan University, there’s just enough activity in moderate noise to stimulate your brain!

On the nosey side of the fence, there’s no better way to remember than with the right scents. Past research has shown that our sense of smell is strongly linked with our memories, and according to Mark Moss at Northumbria University, rosemary is the way to go. “Rosemary in particular caught my attention as it is considered to be [stimulating] and linked to memory,” he says. When he tested participants while they were whiffing the herb, they did much better on memory tests than a group that was not..

I guess next time you want to hack your creativity and memory, dab a bit of rosemary beneath your nose and study someplace with medium sound levels!

Featured image courtesy of Stanford