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Majority of young would choose tech over sense of smell

freshly baked breadDo you find the aroma of freshly baked bread calming and comforting? Doesn’t your favorite coffee smell as good as it tastes? What about the scent of your favorite flowers, or of recently cut grass – isn’t having a sense of smell a wonderful thing?

Granted, there are times when you might wish that you didn’t have it – the morning after a late night curry and one beer too many springs to mind – but overall, who would want to lose this largely undervalued sense?

Well, the results of a McGann Worldgroup study released this week found that over half (53 percent) of 16-22 year olds said they would rather give up their sense of smell than give up their technology.

The study, which covered a range of subjects, involved 7000 16-30 year olds from the US, UK, Spain, China, India, Brazil and Mexico, and took place in April 2011. According to a McGann press release, the study “examined the motivations of young people around the world and sought to uncover what makes them different from every generation that has come before.”

Laura Simpson, McGann’s Global IQ Director, commented on the study. “What we saw is that technology is the great global unifier,” she said. “It is the glue that binds this generation together and fuels the motivations that define them. Young people utilize technology as a kind of supersense which connects them to infinite knowledge, friends and entertainment opportunities.”

McGann believes the results of the study indicate that for the youth of today, who you are is not defined by what you own or what experiences you’ve had; instead, it’s about who you connect with and what you share. McGann noted the comment of one respondent: “If there are no pics, it didn’t happen.”

The findings suggest that “whereas past generations focused on maintaining a small group of friends, relationships between youth today are much more complex. Using social media, a typical teenager is likely to manage and maintain multiple, intersecting groups of friends. In this sense, “connecting” to a broader network of friends has replaced the singular need to “belong” to a tight knit group of friends.”

With the lives of those in the survey so bound up in social media, it’s little wonder they favor Twitter over a whiff of their favorite food. How about you? Would you throw in your smartphone to save your sense of smell (don’t worry, it’s never going to come down to it)?

Image: Adam K. Thomas

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