How hacking senses can boost learning

It may not have seemed important to you at the time how your school smelled, or how noisy it was when you were trying to learn. However, research is starting to show that the way that a place smells or the sounds that surround you can have an impact on learning, performance and creativity.

So much so, that schools are starting to embrace this by ensuring that their school is full of amazing smells and that the right sounds filter through the school too. But is there any proof of this? Could your child’s learning be improved by their other senses?

Noise in the classroom

Studies have found that children who attend schools that sit underneath a flight path will often have a lower exam result than those who don’t. This does somewhat make sense as this noise is loud and can be distracting, however, it isn’t just this over the top loud noise that can have an impact on exam scores. Sometimes the simple babble in the background, the chatter of other children, this can all distract children whilst they are trying to learn. This can prove to be particularly troublesome in open plan classrooms when it is much easier to hear other conversations.

Of course, noise isn’t always the worst thing to have in the classroom. In fact, there have also been studies that have shown that a medium level of background noise, that it is controlled, can actually help creativity and learning. Much like how white noise can help a baby to settle themselves to sleep.

Smells in the classroom

What you hear is not the only thing that can have an impact on your learning, what you smell can also help or hinder you. However, at the moment, much less research has gone into this and not much is known about how scents can help with cognitive performances.

That said, there have been some studies and these studies have found that rosemary is a scent that is thought to be linked to a boost in focus and memory. In comparison, lavender is a relaxing and sedating scent which will put the brain into rest mode and really hinder what is learnt and the information that we manage to retain.

So, how does this work? Well, the part of the brain that is linked to learning, the hippocampus is linked to the olfactory bulb, which process smell. So, this could have a huge impact on the relation between the two. Not only this but in the case of rosemary, it is thought that this can bring up the number of particular compounds in the blood, which in turn helps with communication between the brain cells and then improve brain function.

As you can see, there seems to be some link to the other senses with how well you learn. So, why not learn more about how the senses can improve your learning and work with it to help your child?