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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Emotional Benefits Of Flowers

For thousands of years people have been cultivating flowers but for what benefit? Growing flowers is a costly & labour intensive exercise yet there is always a demand for this activity. Everyone loves receiving flowers, but now a scientific study in the United States has proven that flowers have a positive physiological effect on people of both genders emotions, sense of wellbeing and happiness.
In a study of over 400 people (as reported in the Journal of Evolutionary Psychology, 2005:3 104-113) various scenarios were carried out and the presence of flowers measured against other items and nothing at all.

In Study 1 flowers (a bouquet of roses, lillies and stock)were presented to 147 women. It was found that receiving the flowers always elicited the Duchenne or true smile. The response was significantly greater than any of the other stimuli tested, including fruit and sweet baskets and a large, multi-wicked burning candle. Perhaps the most significant finding in this study was that women who received the flowers reported more positive moods 3 days later. None of the other stimuli had this affect. This means that giving flowers to someone will not only give a significantly positive response immediately, positive benefits are still felt 3 days later!

In Study 2, 122 people (both Men & Women) entered an elevator and were given a free Gerbera flower, were given a free pen, or nothing (control). Giving the Gerbera flower had the most significantly positive response in both men and women - causing them to smile more, stand closer to the undercover experimenter and making them more likely to initiate conversation . In fact, people who were not part of the experiment were asking for free flowers too, once word got out that Gerberas were being handed out. This study shows that the positive effects of flowers are not just enjoyed by women but men also.

In Study 3, 91 people with the average age of 73 who had received flowers reported significantly more happiness and interest than those who didn't receive flowers. It appeared that the benefit was additive, with happiness increasing for those who received a second bunch of flowers. In addition, flower receivers reported an increase in episodic memory and were less likely to feel depressed.

It's unknown why exactly flowers have such a beneficial effect on peoples moods but the study offers a suggestion of the possibility that humans are "biologically primed" to associate flowers to happiness as well as flowers perfumes, pollens etc.

One last note from the researchers.... "In many years of studying emotions, we have never received hugs, kisses, thank you notes or photographs, not even for candy, doughnuts, decorated shirts or hats, gift certificates or direct monetary payments: the flowers are different"

This study is great reading not only for those who are looking at online Sydney flower delivery as a surprise for a loved one but also those clients who have corporate flowers delivered to their business place each week, proof that your corporate flowers are providing benefit to your customers and staff.

If you would like to read more of the study you can find it here

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