Thirty-three college students completed questionnaires related to video game play and mood, and then played video games that required a lot of mental activity on the Wii video game system. These games included Wii Fit Plus games, such as Perfect 10, Snowball Fight, and Obstacle Course. When they played the games they either received peppermint scent or no scent. During play, their physiology was measured (such as heart rate and blood pressure).
Gamers who received peppermint scent showed significant improvements in their video game play, such as an increase in the number of levels completed for Perfect 10, greater number of hits and stars during Snowball Fight, and the number of levels and distance completed for the Obstacle Course. They also said that the video games seem less mentally demanding, that they felt they didn’t have to put forth as much effort in order to do well, and showed less anxiety.
Finally, participants in the control group (no scent) had a significantly lower pulse change and diastolic blood pressure change at the end of their video game play session; whereas, participants in the peppermint scent condition experienced no significant difference in pulse. This suggests that the peppermint scent promoted greater physiological arousal, thus keeping them engaged in the gaming process.
Original citation: Bova, A., McCombs, K., Raudenbush, B. & Sappington, M. (March, 2011). Augmenting cognitive performance through scent administration during Wii video game play. Presented at the Eastern Psychological Association Conference, Cambridge, Massachusetts.
In : Olfaction