Neil Martin at the Human Olfaction Laboratory at Middlesex University, discovered the power of chocolate in an experiment where he filled rooms with three smells, one of chocolate, a “malodour” of machine oil, which most people find unpleasant, and a lemony, pleasant-but-alerting odour, then monitored testers’ moods.
“The aim was to compare the effects of pleasant and unpleasant ambient odours on stress, anxiety, depression and mood,” Martin explains.
“…so far it seems that the smell of chocolate really does make people less stressed and anxious, and more relaxed.”
“In another study we looked at the effect of chocolate on brain activity,” he says. Martin used EEG (electroencephalography) technology to record his participants’ brain waves as they sniffed the air, and found that in both experiments, the chocolate smell consistently led to a reduction in a particular type of brain activity called theta, which is thought to be an index of attentiveness. ” Theta levels dropped, indicating a less stressed and more relaxed state of mind for participants.