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Clean Scents Make People More Virtuous, Study Shows

Posted: November 3, 2009

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Unpleasant odors, in fact, have been shown to make people more aggressive, says Hirsch. “We looked at a school across the street from a mulching site,” he says. “And on days when the bad smells would waft across the street to the school, there was an increase in behavioral problems in the kids.”

Can clean smells reduce crime?

p>Liljenquist says she hopes the research linking clean smells to virtuous behavior will prove useful for the workplace—and for businesses that cater to the public.


“Evidence suggests that money could be better spent on lemon-scented air fresheners or janitorial services than on costly surveillance systems,” she says. “It could deter theft among customers and encourage pro-social behavior in the workplace.”