How You Are Influenced by the Smells Around You

Can smells be the basis for world peace?  OK…  maybe that is taking the whole “smell thing” a bit far, but smells in our daily lives affect the way we conduct business, the way we teach or learn… heck – smell probably effects the list of groceries we buy each week.

Conduct a little experiment by yourself this week.  Go into a store and consciously think about the very first smells you encounter in the supermarket.  Then go about your business of buying food and other things.  What is in your cart at the end?  Did that initial smell change any of your purchases?  Did that smell change your overall mood?  Did smells inside the store… after you had walked around a bit already “work with you…” and your grocery list? Or did a particular smell set you off on another “food purchase path?”

Consider the fact that most folks put on perfumes/colognes prior to going out on a date.  Why is that? Either conscious or unconsciously we want to influence the outcome of that date.  And we know that smelling nice could mean the difference between a good time and a bad time.  Is this a shallow thought – to place so much emphasis on smell?  Maybe, except that we do this every single time we go out!

So how could software and/or entertainment programmers affect how we watch a film or play a game or even work through a large budget problem inside a spreadsheet?  We need to conduct research on what I like to refer to as the “first smell theory.”  The first smell theory defines what action or reaction we want to produce so that the resultant action… triggers further favorable actions.  A good example of this could be incorporated into the use of a spreadsheet.  Smells could be triggered by the length of time you spend on that one spreadsheet… or many spreadsheets.  After 20-minutes you would get a whiff of beef jerky/roast pork/salt ‘n vinegar potato chips.  After another 40 minutes or so… the second wave of whiffs might include candy/popcorn/fruit.  Will this lead to more over-weight folks… yes of course, but the sale of beef jerky will sky rocket!

Smell is the unheralded sense that we must look into further… how can we use it to affect world peace… or our hunger cycle! Smell will differentiate software sales in the very near future… so beware!

Peter Young


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