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Incongruent odors suppress perceptual categorization of visual objects: Behavioral and ERP evidence
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Psychology, Perception and psychophysics.
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Abstract [en]

Visual stimuli often dominate non-visual stimuli during multisensory perception, and evidence suggests higher cognitive processes prioritize visual over non-visual stimuli during divided attention. Visual stimuli may therefore have privileged access to higher mental processing resources, relative to other senses, and should be disproportionally distracting when processing incongruent cross-sensory stimuli. We tested this assumption by comparing visual processing with olfaction, a “primitive” sensory channel that detects potentially hazardous chemicals by alerting attention. Behavioral and event-related brain potentials (ERPs) were assessed in a bimodal object categorization task with congruent or incongruent odor-picture pairings and a delayed auditory response target. For congruent pairings, accuracy was higher for visual compared to olfactory decisions. However, for incongruent pairings, reaction times (RTs) were faster for olfactory decisions, suggesting incongruent odors interfered more with visual decisions, thereby showing an “olfactory dominance effect”. Categorization of incongruent pairings engendered a late “slow wave” ERP effect. Importantly, this effect had a later amplitude peak and longer latency during visual decisions, likely reflecting additional categorization effort for visual stimuli. In sum, contrary to what might be inferred from theories of ”visual dominance”, incongruent odors may in fact uniquely attract mental processing resources during perceptual incongruence.

Keywords [en]
event-related brain potentials, object categorization, olfaction, olfactory-visual processing, visual dominance
National Category
Psychology
Research subject
Psychology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-178485DOI: 10.31234/osf.io/f52uhOAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-178485DiVA, id: diva2:1389942
Note

This work was supported byThe Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences (M14-0375:1) to M.L., and by the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation (KAW 2016:0229) to J.K.O.

Available from: 2020-01-30 Created: 2020-01-30 Last updated: 2020-01-30

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Publisher's full textPsyArXiv, 2019, May 3

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Hörberg, ThomasLarsson, MariaOlofsson, Jonas K.
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CiteExportLink to record
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