2,3,5,7,11,13 – Peter

An interesting experiment recently has demonstrated the power of smell as a behavioural prime.  Researchers counted and weighed the amount of rubbish left in train carriages with and without a citrus smell, the carriages with the citrus smell had on average 2.7 pieces of litter whereas it was 5.1 for the control carriages.   This is very similar to the results of an experiment we sometimes talk about where the presence of a cleaning scent made people wipe away biscuit crumbs more frequently!


How else might be test sensorial primes?

  • (The classic) does the smell of baking bread really increase the offer someone would make on a house?
  • Smell of perfume / pheromones in a lingerie store – would people buy more expensive / risqué products? Interesting to see how a cleanliness prime would affect behaviour…
  • What if a cleaning aisle had a dirty / sticky floor – would it increase sales (more sensitive to dirt) or reduce sales (desensitising to dirt)
  • Introducing the smell of the sea into a travel agents – do they sell more beach holidays / cruises, would a pine scent sell more mountain breaks?

Should we be thinking more about scratch and sniff adverts?!

Think of your own priming experiments and share with us!

(Did you see how I tried to prime you in this task?)


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