Any situation where you’re trying to get money from someone induces anxiety--negotiating a raise at work, trying to get a business loan, buttering up your mom so you can borrow rent money from her (again). If you were told to dab on lavender oil to help deal with these scenarios, you might think it’s a decent suggestion, since sniffs of lavender are used in aromatherapy to relieve stress.
But what if I told you the lavender scent isn’t for you--it’s for the person you’re negotiating with? A January 2015 study published in Frontiers in Psychology shows that lavender aroma promotes interpersonal trust, a key component in people thinking you’re a stand-up gal who won’t screw them over.
The study used a behavioral economics game of trust, which goes like this: Someone gives cash to a partner, and then based on the partner’s actions, he or she can get even more money back. The amount of trust you have in the partner to do the right thing influences how much money you fork over.
People in a room scented with lavender gave their partners significantly more money than people doing the same experiment in a peppermint-scented room and a room with no scent (the control). The idea is that calming lavender turns on inclusive feelings, rather than exclusive feelings, which is what energizing peppermint does.
Lead researcher Roberta Sellaro says this can come in handy in all sorts of situations where you need someone to trust you, including selling a car, getting people to buy stuff in your store, or even “in sport psychology to enhance trust and build team spirit, for example in the case of team games such as soccer and volleyball.”
Of course, deploying the power of lavender doesn’t guarantee success, but at least it’s a pleasant way to stack the odds more in your favor.
- When would you use lavender to help get what you want?
- Do you even like lavender scents?