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If you want people to act right, make it smell nice

Apparently, clean smells promote moral behavior.

From ScienceDaily:

People are unconsciously fairer and more generous when they are in clean-smelling environments, according to a soon-to-be published study led by a Brigham Young University professor. The research found a dramatic improvement in ethical behavior with just a few spritzes of citrus-scented Windex.

Of course, I immediately set to wondering if it is really the clean smell, or some strange undocumented side effect of an industrial era chemical additive in the Windex affecting some area of the brain (while giving you scrotal cancer at the same time).

I guess this is the reason “science” has been bothering me lately. How is the behavior linked to the smell and not some chemical in the Windex? Does lemon juice work just as well as Windex? Did they even try another type of “clean” smell? I guess we’ll have to wait for the paper to come out to find out. My hunch is that they didn’t, and there is no real way to know if it really was the smell, or some kind of chemical “high” causing the behavioral change.

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One Response to “If you want people to act right, make it smell nice”

  1. Jenny says:

    My first instinct when I read this was that we have likely become subconsciously conditioned to react to industrial chemical smells, such as Windex. What you said about the chemical affecting some area of our brain is likely right on. I think it has more to do with how you are expected to behave when you are in establishments that use such harsh cleaners.

    My thinking is that we associate those harsh industrial chemical cleaners with school and home. When you grow up around places that are being cleaned with these strong cleaners, at the same time you are likely being told to behave! When I think back to my childhood, if our house smelled like Windex/Ajax/Detergent, then we were likely having company and needed to act a certain way.

    So I guess Windex = Status Quo?

    Interesting article…

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