The impact of coffee-like scent on expectations and performance

Adriana Madzharov, Ning Ye, Maureen Morrin, Lauren Block

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (SciVal)


The present research explores the effect of an ambient coffee-like scent (versus no scent) on expectations regarding performance on an analytical reasoning task as well as on actual performance. We show that people in a coffee-scented (versus unscented) environment perform better on an analytical reasoning task due to heightened performance expectations (Study 1). We further show that people expect that being in a coffee-scented environment will increase their performance because they expect it will increase their physiological arousal level (Study 2). Our results thus demonstrate that a coffee-like scent (which actually contains no caffeine) can elicit a placebo effect.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-86
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Environmental Psychology
Early online date23 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd


  • Coffee-like scent
  • Olfaction
  • Performance
  • Placebo effects

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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