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Wheeling Jesuit study reveals hidden GPA power in peppermint-scented pencils

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A seven-week study by the Wheeling Jesuit University Psychology Department showed as students increased their use of a peppermint scented pencil, their Grade Point Averages also increased.

According to Bryan Raudenbush, professor of Psychology at Wheeling Jesuit University, each freshman was given a peppermint scented pencil, called a "smencil," in August. The students later were polled about their usage.

For those who used the "smencil" a few times a week, their goals averaged around a 3.2 G.P.A. For those who said they used it once a month, they averaged around 2.4, and for those who said they never used the scented pencil, their G.P.A. stood at a 2.1.

"Peppermint has been shown to increase activity in the reticular activating system in our brain, which is the part that wakes us up in the morning," Raudenbush said. "Additional activity in this area also has been tied with increased mental performance.

"The scent from the pencil is most likely keeping the students more alert and focused, so that they can study more efficiently."

"Smencils" are made up of 100 percent recyclable material and keep their scent for about a year. The pencils were provided free from smencils.com, a Scentco Inc. Company.

Raudenbush has given more than 100 research presentations, procured three patents and 26 external grant funds, including grants from governmental agencies such as NASA and the National Science Foundation. He has written more than 70 published works, including more than 30 journal articles, two books, three book chapters and two laboratory manuals. He has been a professor at Wheeling Jesuit since 1998.