A new study recently published in the Journal of Social Psychology says that the smell of freshly baked bread appears to make people act nicer to strangers. Apparently good aromas equal good deeds! To test this hypothesis that bread makes people act nicer to strangers, researchers from the University of Southern Brittany in France stationed volunteers in front of bakeries and clothing stores and instructed them to drop an item (a glove, handkerchief) to gauge stranger response. The results showed that 77 percent of strangers in front of the bakery stopped to give the item back to the volunteer, while on 52 percent of strangers in front of the clothing boutique did so.
The study's conclusion: "In general, spontaneous help is offered more in areas where pleasant ambient smells are spread...This experiment confirms the role of ambient food odors on altruism."