The Color of Dictation

One of my favorite lines on Twitter is “Not The Onion,” meaning that the headline or story linked to is not supposed to be funny or satirical, like news site, The Onion, but is (bizarrely) true. We need an academic equivalent of this – perhaps, “Not The Journal of Irreproducible Results” (a “science humor” magazine).

Here is today’s entry, from the current issue of Biology Bulletin:

Effect of ambient odor on cognitive functions in children

We studied the effect of the peppermint ambient odor on the performance of routine Russian school language tests by primary-school students in a standard classroom, where a noiseless source of odor provided scenting the air by means of free evaporation of the essential oil at a constant low concentration. It is shown that in the presence of peppermint odor the marks for a word dictation test that is based on the long-term memory are significantly higher than in the absence of the odor, whereas the performance of text copying test (based mainly on attention) is not influenced by the presence of peppermint odor.

Counter-evidence: The Peanuts character Peppermint Patty was apparently a poor student.

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