Quick Hits
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That sounds a good thing but what is an everyday pleasure?

In this study the researchers investigated the relationship between simple pleasures and brain activity. Specifically drinking coffee, listening to music, and smelling perfume.

Coffee and music for me – not so sure about the perfume though

Participants could choose what they wanted according to their preferences – that’s important – it needs to be a personalised pleasure…of course. I’m with you on coffee and music also – but then again remember my article on the positive impacts of aroma exposure during sleep a few days ago?

How did they measure this?

Well, this is actually very innovative but we also need to be careful of marketing hype here as this was sponsored by MINDWATCH. They have developed algorithms over the years that can measure brain states based on skin conductance. That is your skin responds very quickly to your current state and this can me measured using a sensor. This is much less invasive than measuring brain wave activity. In this experiment they used skin conductance bands and a device to measure some brain activity also.

And so what was the outcome?

Participants conducted memory tests shortly after being exposed to these stimulants and their performance increase and this could be measured in the brain – an increase in beta band brain waves (associated with concentration and cognitive performance) – and skin conductance results. Music seems to be the most potent followed by coffee and then the perfume.

Don’t we know this already?

Actually yes. We know music can positively stimulate brain activity and is also considered a performance enhancing tool by World Athletics (and as such is not allowed directly before competition!). Similarly, there is a lot of research on coffee and its positive benefits. But participants in this could choose their preferred option.

Also of interest is that there were three types of music to choose from and unsurprisingly the energetic was more effective than the relaxing one – but, and here is the surprise, they included an AI generated piece of music and this was the most effective!

And what now?

Well, this shows that those small pleasures can positively impact brain performance – this is why they are a small pleasure – a little bit of what you fancy does you good as they say – and this is not all in the mind. Your brain and cognitive performance will thank you.

And what about all three simultaneously?

That’s what I’m doing as I write this – feels good enough to me!

Andy Habermacher

Andy Habermacher

Andy is author of leading brains Review, Neuroleadership, and multiple other books. He has been intensively involved in writing and research into neuroleadership and is considered one of Europe’s leading experts. He is also a well-known public speaker, speaking on the brain and human behaviour.

Andy is also a masters athlete (middle distance running) and competes regularly at international competitions (and holds a few national records in his age category).

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Hamid Fekri Azgomi, Luciano R. F. Branco, Md. Rafiul Amin, Saman Khazaei, Rose T. Faghih.
Regulation of brain cognitive states through auditory, gustatory, and olfactory stimulation with wearable monitoring.
Scientific Reports, 2023; 13 (1)
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-023-37829-z

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