Two things I love in my writing space: the from-scratch hot cocoa my sweet husband makes me every day, and fresh fragrant flowers. Somehow, when I have those two things, my day has a joyful lilt to it. Even when clouds erase the sun and I have a difficult assignment, everything seems to go a bit better when the room smells nice.
Chocolate and roses. And strawberries and jasmine and ripe oranges and fresh baked cookies. These are a few of my favorite smells. Oh, and babies just out of the bath. And clean sheets dried on the line.
Lots can be said in praise of pleasing frangrances. But now a professor by the name of Katie Liligenquist comes along and tells us that good smells can actually encourage us to be better people. For a study to be published in Psychlogical Science, her team conducted two separate experiments in which participants who sat in a room sprayed with citrus-scented Windex demonstrated themselves to be more likely to act fairly and charitably than those in an unscented room. At the beginning of the study, she had wondered wether they could regulate ethical behavior through the smells of cleanliness. At the end she said, “We found that we could.”
(Other researchers came to the same conclusion, by the way, but from the opposite direction. When they brought people into a stinky room, they found them to be more critical and judgemental. I don’t suppose those participants will ever forget that study!)
One of the side benefits of being a writer is that we learn ten times as much stuff as we ever end up using in our writing. A writer’s brain turn into a catch-all for all sorts off-the-wall information. Which sets us to pondering such questions as: If we had lemon-scented candles at church, would the offering plate be more filled? or If a defendant’s attorney served fresh baked brownies at the trial, would the accused be more likely to be found innocent?
Regardless, I’m going to start my day by cleaning my office with that yummy smelling lemon-scented cleaner. Then I’ll treat myself to an entire vaseful of roses, and maybe even put some cookies in to bake. I need all the charitable fairness I can get. I have an article to write on human trafficking.
“The fragrance always stays in the hand that gives the rose.”Heda Bejar