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'Pop a mint for a safe drive'

The odours of mint and cinnamon may keep you more alert and awake while driving, says a study.
None | By Asian News International, Washington
UPDATED ON MAR 25, 2006 07:51 PM IST

Next time when you’re behind the wheel, don't forget to take some peppermint or cinnamon flavoured chewing gum. A new study suggest that the odours of mint and cinnamon may keep you more alert and awake while driving.

According to the results of a recent study led by Wheeling Jesuit University undergraduate student Will Esgro both cinnamon and peppermint enhance performance, and alertness, decrease fatigue and frustration.

The student, who worked with Dr Bryan Raudenbush, Director of Undergraduate Research and associate professor of psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University in Wheeling, WV, will present the study, Effects Of Odor Administration On Driving Performance, Safety, Alertness, And Fatigue, during the University’s Seventh Annual Student Research and Scholarship Symposium, on April 4, 2006.

“By capitalising on one-on-one research opportunities with professors—a hallmark of Wheeling Jesuit—students can change the world.

Because of his work, Will may create more alert and conscientious commutes for drivers and minimize fatigue associated with prolonged driving, thereby reducing the number of highway accidents and fatalities,” Newswise  quoted Dr Raudenbush, as saying.

The study builds on Dr Raudenbush's past research, which indicated the scent of peppermint and cinnamon enhance motivation, decrease fatigue, and serve as central nervous system stimulants.

"Given these results, it is reasonable to expect that the presentation of peppermint or cinnamon odor while driving may produce a more alert and conscientious driver, and minimize the fatigue associated with prolonged driving," says Dr Raudenbush.

"In general, prolonged driving led to increased anger, fatigue, and physical demand, and decreased vigor. However, fatigue ratings were decreased in the cinnamon condition. Both cinnamon and peppermint administration led to increased ratings of alertness in comparison to the no-odour control condition over the course of the driving scenario.

Periodic administration of these odours over long term driving may prove beneficial in maintaining alertness and decreasing highway accidents and fatalities," he added.

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