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Previous research has indicated that odorant presentations can have both positive and negative effects on psychological perceptions of athletic task performance. The present study extends past research by assessing how the administration of peppermint odor affects actual athletic task performance. Forty athletes undertook a series of physical tasks under conditions of no-odor or peppermint odor. The peppermint odor condition resulted in increases in running speed, hand grip strength, and number of push-ups, but had no effect on skill related tasks such as basketball free-throw shots. The implications are particularly salient in regard to enhancing athletic performance using a nonpharmacological aid and as an adjunct to athletic training and physical therapy.
B. Raudenbush and N. Corley are with the Dept. of Psychology, and W. Eppich is with the Dept. of Physical Therapy, at Wheeling Jesuit University, Wheeling, WV 26003.