Can the smell of fresh bread spur you to compassion?
Researchers found that shoppers were more likely to alert a passer-by that they had dropped a belonging if, at the time, they were also passing near a bakery giving off the mouth-watering aroma.
Their findings, published in the Journal of Social Psychology, suggest certain smells trigger a positive mood that leads to a greater degree of altruism, or unconditional concern for the welfare of others. ... volunteers pretended to be looking for something in their bags as they stepped in front of a passing shopper.
As they walked a few feet in front of the shopper, the participants dropped a glove, handkerchief or packet of tissues.
Two observers stood about 20 meters away. The experiments - which were repeated up to 400 times - found that when the volunteers dropped the items outside the bakery, 77 per cent of passers-by stopped and helped recover the lost items and hand them back to their owner.
Outside the clothes shop only 52 per cent of strangers helped. ...
"This experiment confirms the role of ambient food odours on altruism."
If standing outside a bakery can trigger one's compassion response, just think what immersing oneself in the ambient influence of the Bread of Life could do!
"I am the bread of life" (John 6:48, cf. John 6:35).