London: The smell of freshly baked breads, cakes and pastries don`t just stimulate our appetites they make us nicer people, a new study has claimed.
Benefits of freshly baked bread extend far beyond the obvious ones - such as being comforting, homely and undeniably delicious, researchers said.
Researchers at the University of Southern Brittany in France, believe it may also make us kinder to strangers, the `Daily Mail` reported.
They found that shoppers were more likely to alert a passer-by that they had dropped a belonging if, at the time, they were also passing near a bakery giving off the mouth-watering aroma.
Their findings suggest certain smells trigger a positive mood that leads to a greater degree of altruism, or unconditional concern for the welfare of others.
The experts, recruited eight young men and women volunteers and told them to stand outside either a bakery or a clothes boutique.
The volunteers pretended to be looking for something in their bags as they stepped in front of a passing shopper.
The participants dropped a glove, handkerchief or packet of tissues, as they walked a few feet in front of the shopper
The experiments which were repeated up to 400 times found that when the volunteers dropped the items outside the bakery, 77 per cent of passers-by stopped and helped recover the lost items and hand them back to their owner.
Outside the clothes shop only 52 per cent of strangers helped.
Researchers found that other smells widely regarded as pleasant would trigger similarly benevolent behaviour.
"Our results show that, in general, spontaneous help is offered more in areas where pleasant ambient smells are spread," researchers said.
"This experiment confirms the role of ambient food odours on altruism," they said.
The study findings were published in the Journal of Social Psychology.