The alluring nature of episodic odor memory: Sensory and cognitive correlates across age and sex
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Episodic memory for olfactory information is still relatively uncharted. The overall purpose of this thesis is to investigate the sensory and cognitive causes of the well-established age-related decline in olfactory episodic odor memory and of the age-independent sex difference in olfactory episodic memory. The purpose of Study I was to investigate the causes of the sex difference in olfactory episodic memory. The results show that the female advantage in episodic recognition memory seems to be explained by women´s higher aptitude in odor identification for familiar odors. With this background, the purpose of Study II was to investigate the age-related decline in olfactory episodic memory, with a particular eye to the role of odor identification. When controlling for the sensory variables olfactory threshold and odor quality discrimination, and the cognitive factor mental speed, the age-related deterioration in odor identification was eliminated. This suggests that changes in basic sensory and cognitive abilities underlie the age-related impairment in odor identification. The purpose of Study III was to investigate the role of recollective experience and intention to memorize for age-related and sex-related differences in episodic odor memory. Younger adults reported more experiences of remembering, and the elderly adults more experiences of feeling of knowing. The participants benefited from intentionality at encoding when the odors were unfamiliar, but intentionality did not affect memory for the familiar odors. The purpose of Study IV was to investigate the role of subjectively perceived qualities of the encoded odors for episodic memory across age and sex. Odors perceived as unpleasant, intense, and irritable were more easily remembered throughout the adult life span. The oldest adults selectively recognized the odors they rated as highly irritable indicating compensatory use of trigeminal activation. Overall, the result suggests that episodic odor memory rely heavily on both sensory and cognitive abilities, but in a different manner depending on demographic factors. The age-related decline appears to be driven by a sensory flattening disabling adequate cognitive processing. The age-independent sex difference on the other hand, is mainly cognitively mediated and driven by cognitive factors such as the ability to verbalize olfactory information.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. , 79 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Social Sciences, ISSN 1652-9030 ; 121
Olfaction, Age, Sex, Episodic odor memory, Odor identification, Recollective experience, Hedonic, Healthy, Adults
Psychology (excluding Applied Psychology)
Research subject Psychology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-265010ISBN: 978-91-554-9415-5OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-265010DiVA: diva2:872603
2016-01-22, Universitetshuset, sal IV, Biskopsgatan 3, Uppsala, 13:15 (English)
Nordin, Steven, Professor
Juslin, Peter, ProfessorOlsson, Mats J., Professor
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