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Math Odors

We need to add smells to our math books, or if possible, to the mathematics we ask students to learn. Imagine learning an algorithm for division of fractions...that smells like lilac?

Some background.... Companies have been adding fragrences (i.e. smells) to products for sale (e.g. tires that smell like roses). And, the Journal of Consumer Research reprts that this is a good move, as "scented products linger in the memory."

In an experiment, 151 subjects examined a pencil with a 10-item list of its selling points. Some of the pencils were scented (pine tree oil) and some were not.

In a follow-up interview two weeks later, students could not remember a single attribute of the unscented pencils, but remembered more than three attributes of the scented pencils.

Marketing professor Aradhna Krishna claims: "What we're saying is, it's not just the smell that people remember. It's other things associated with the smell..."

So, what smells would you give to the Pythagorean Theorem, factoring, proof, etc. Definitely roses with Polar Graphs!

Source: New York Times, November 16, 2009