You and I are pretty sophisticated (well you are…). We have our own scent about us. Some people like that scent. Others recommend deodorant. That unique set of differences and similarities is one of the amazing ways we influence each other unconsciously.
Past research on scent and the effect of smells on human behavior has typically been tainted by corporate and individual interests. Some research has been well done and is useful. We do know, for example, that smell of vanilla is a positive in almost every context from selling a home to having a romantic evening.
We also know that humans are greatly affected by the scent of you and me…and there is no way to predict who is going to affect who (and how) until you actually…are there, in the situation.
This week, interesting new research just released and published in New Scientist discuss the powerful calming effects of a smell that mimics a very specific smell from very early in life.
Misbehaving dogs are soothed by a chemical scent that evokes their puppyhood, according to new research. The chemicals could help relax dogs living in stressful environments such as animal shelters or working for the military.
Researchers in Scotland conducted the largest-ever study on the effects of “dog-appeasing pheromone” (DAP) on dogs in an animal shelter. DAP is a synthetic chemical that appears to mimic those secreted by lactating bitches three days after birth to create a comforting setting for puppies.
Plug-in diffusers continuously released the airborne molecules to 37 dogs, while a control group of 17 dogs received none. A graduate student, unaware of which dogs were exposed, then studied the dogs’ behaviour for a week.
The DAP dogs barked less frequently and more quietly than the control dogs, and showed more interest in strangers who approached their cages. Sound meters registered an overall peak barking level of 80 decibels for the dogs inhaling pheromones compared to highs of 100 decibels in the control dogs.
The DAP dogs “tended to be relaxed and interested in their external environment, suggesting DAP was having a calming effect,” says Natalie Waran, an animal behaviourist at the University of Edinburgh, who oversaw the research of graduate student Elaine Todd. “That’s what it’s supposed to do, but it hasn’t been tested on a large number of dogs in such a stressful environment.”
French company CEVA Sante Animale has sold the pheromone for the last several years to reduce stress-related behaviours in pet dogs.
“I think the therapeutic use of pheromones is extremely exciting and interesting for animal behaviour specialists,” Waran told New Scientist. “A dog is a very social pack animal, so being put in a situation where it’s individually housed and where there’s a great deal of noise is quite stressful socially and physically.”
She says DAP is one way to create a “healthier environment for dogs” – others include redesigning kennels and letting dogs interact with each other more often.
Pheromones are known to be used in mate choice by a wide range of animals, from insects to crayfish to mice. There is some evidence that humans also are susceptible to pheromones. In dogs, the chemicals are detected high up in the nose by the vomeronasal organ, which then sends a signal to the brain.
“We don’t really understand how pheromones operate in the brain, but we know they have an enormous effect on animal behaviour,” says Waran. “Since we have such a large number of dogs in shelters, I think [the use of DAP] should certainly be considered.”
One aspect of influence we’ve visited several times in The Science of Influence is the impact of emotions on the results of persuasive communication attempts.
The Science of Influence is the place to begin. What makes the Science of Influence different from every other program about persuasion? This material is fresh, potent, tested, and has nearly all of what you will discover is new! There is no rehash of past salespeople or scholars.
Science of Influence Master’s Home Study Course (12 CDs)
with Kevin Hogan, Psy.D.
This program is the culmination of years of selling synthesized with the last five years of academic research into compliance gaining, persuasion and influence. You won’t find a program like this, designed for you, anywhere else.