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Bad Odors Stick Better Than Good Ones: Olfactory Qualities and Odor Recognition
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology.
2009 (English)In: Experimental psychology (Göttingen), ISSN 1618-3169, Vol. 56, no 6, 375-380 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The influences of perceived odor qualities on the retention of olfactory information across the adult lifespan were examined. Young (19-36 years), young-old (60-74 years), and old (75-91 years) adults (n = 202) rated a set of unfamiliar odors across a series of perceptual dimensions (i.e., pleasantness, intensity, and irritability) at encoding. The overall results indicated that memory for unpleasant olfactory information was better than that for pleasant odors across the lifespan. Also, participants showed better retention for odors perceived with high intensity and irritability than for odors rated with low or medium scores. Interestingly, the old adults showed selective beneficial memory effects for odors rated as highly irritable. To the extent that perceptions of high irritability reflect an activation of the trigeminal sensory system, this finding suggests that older adults may use trigeminal components in odor information to compensate for age-related impairments in olfactory memory.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 56, no 6, 375-380 p.
Keyword [en]
odor, adult, age, sex, odor recognition memory, odor quality, hedonics, pleasantness, intensity, irritability, trigeminal
National Category
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-139695DOI: 10.1027/1618-3169.56.6.375ISI: 000266940200001PubMedID: 19502198OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-139695DiVA: diva2:381849
Available from: 2010-12-29 Created: 2010-12-29 Last updated: 2011-01-03Bibliographically approved

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